This time in Ngaba, one of the focal points of this ongoing conflict:
At around 12 noon local time, a Tibetan man named Tharpa put up signed flyers around Zu To Bharma Shang, declaring that until the demands of the Tibetans who have self-immolated are met, Tibetans will never abandon their struggle and continue to organise more campaigns.
Two hours later, at around 2 pm local time, Chinese security personnel surrounded Tharpa’s home and arrested him. A crowd of gathered Tibetans outside the house stopped the Chinese police from taking him away saying that “all local Tibetans will rise up in protest” if Tharpa is arrested.
Following the confrontation, the Chinese security personnel resorted to violent force.
“The Chinese security personnel used fire arms, killing one Tibetan on the spot and injuring many more,” the release said citing sources in the region.
Over ten thousand Tibetans from the nearby regions of Zu Toe and Zu Mey (upper and lower Zu) have reportedly arrived at Bharma Shang as the situation continues to remain very tense.
Meanwhile, Vishal Arora at Asia Times writes that China is losing a ‘media war’ over this conflict:
In a letter published in The Guardian, Dai Qingli, an official from the Chinese Embassy in London, suggests that the immolations are part of “a separatist agenda under religious cover”, pointing out that “pro-independence Tibetans outside China were quick to publicize the self-immolations, sometimes within a few minutes of their occurrence”.
However, Sangay cites the example of an exiled monk who attempted self-immolation in Nepal. The monk had planned it for September, but a friend who came to know about it prevented him from burning himself.
He made another attempt in November, but survived. “It shows that self-immolators do it alone … Anyone who comes to know about it will not let it happen. We do not even have the pictures of the burnt bodies. If it was for international support or publicity, then they would do something to get the attention of journalists.”
“Almost 99% of this generation has never met the Dalai Lama. Still there is a strong sense of the Tibetan spirit. All the self-immolators, the eldest one is in his 40s, grew up under the Chinese system, education, politics, history, and [yet] they are dying. No matter what kind of education you provide and no matter what propaganda you subject them to, they are saying, it’s better to die than live under those circumstances.”
These are serious allegations against China, and the international community mostly believes the Tibetans. Due to Beijing’s unwillingness to allow journalists to investigate, its claims naturally sound like defensive rhetoric.
“These actions clearly represent … enormous anger, enormous frustration with regard to the severe restrictions on human rights, including religious freedom, inside China,” said US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland in January. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have also taken note of restrictions on basic freedoms and authorities’ interference in monasteries across the Tibetan plateau.