Chinese Security Forces Detain Hundreds in Tibet’s Capital
Chinese authorities are said to have rounded up and detained hundreds of residents and pilgrims in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, in the wake of the two self-immolations which occurred there a few days a go, in a move marking the first such protest in the heavily guarded capital of the province.
According to a local source, cited by The Telegraph, the Chinese security detained some 600 people who live in the Tibetan Autonomous Region, while those who were from other provinces were expelled.
The city was filled with pilgrims at the time of the self-immolations, as the Tibetan Buddhists were celebrating Saga Dawa, the birth of Buddha. The two people who set themselves on fire were not from Tibet proper but from provinces around Tibet, where important Tibetan communities live as well.
The protest occurred in front of Jokhang Temple, a place for pilgrimage, and the police was able to put the fire out in time to save the life of one of the self-immolators, whose whereabouts are unknown.
After the incident on Sunday the security in Lhasa tightened even still, with police and paramilitary patrolling in the open, with identity cards checked and mobile phones signals jammed.
A London-base activist organization called Free Tibet said that there have been reports about residents of Lhasa being arbitrarily detained by the police. Lhasa has been under tight security surveillance since 2008, when the most powerful protests against Chinese rule broke out.
The self-immolations last Sunday embarrass the Chinese Communist authorities, who have made their political goal this year to address social and economic matters, and to try to solve the ethnic problems that exist in the country.
The Communist party is also going through a very delicate moment, as the leadership is about to be replaced by a new generation, something that is usual in Communist China where four such shifts have already been made since the inception of the republic.
Since the party, like all Communist party in the world, wants things to go smoothly and with no incidents, drawing attention on China at a time like this is most unwanted, which is why the security forces are trying to maintain things under control.
The Chinese news agencies blamed the self-immolations on Dalai Lama, and announced that no such provocations can deter China from achieving its goals, reaffirming that the Tibetan are enjoying the freedom of their beliefs, and the standard of life China has brought by the modernization of the province.
Accusing Dalai Lama for the self-immolations has become a practice of the Communist regime, which considers that Dalai Lama is instigating his people to terrorism by asking them to protest the Chinese rule.
Dalai Lama has made it clear in more than one occasion that he was against the practice of self-immolation, which he considers an attack to the sanctity of life. However, he held a memorial service last year and observed a day of fasting for the memory of those among the people who died protesting against China. His action was deemed immediately by China as an act of terror and support for terror.
China accuses Dalai Lama of wanting to separate Tibet from China, even though the famous spiritual leader has made it clear that he only wanted autonomy for Tibet within China. Tibetans complain that their religious freedoms are being violated, and their cultural heritage altered by the colonization of the Tibetan plateau with Han Chinese, the majority ethnic group of the country.
34 self-immolations were staged in China since 2011, in a surge of protest against China, as the Tibetans hoped by this to draw the world’s attention to what is happening to them. The Tibetan government in exile has demanded that China allow the international media to see what is going on so that it may give correct reports to the world.
The recent self-immolations came days after the government in exile released the information that China was training agents to kill Dalai Lama. China is suspected of training women who would poison their hair and clothes and then go to Dalai Lama to seek his blessing thus poisoning him.
The information could not be confirmed but Dalai Lama spoke of it in an interview for the British press on the occasion of the awarding of the Templeton Prize he won.
Dalai Lama is considering to end the tradition of recognizing the next Dalai Lama as the Chinese made it clear that they would not recognize a Dalai Lama born in exile. The Tibetans fear that they would attempt to put a compliant Dalai Lama in place of the real one after the incumbent holder of the office is no more.11