Updated at 10:40 a.m. EST on 2012-10-25
Chinese authorities in a restive Tibetan region are offering large rewards for information on the “planning and instigation” of self-immolation protests, pledging to protect the safety of informants, according to sources.
Notices, dated Oct. 21 and written in Tibetan and Chinese, have been posted in the Kanlho (in Chinese, Gannan) prefecture of China’s northwestern Gansu province, asking residents to assist police in preventing the self-immolations.
At the same time, the notices blame the fiery protests on exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and “separatist” forces.
“Recent incidents of self-immolation are a political ploy instigated by the Dalai clique and separatists with the empty hope of splitting the country and destroying social harmony,” the notice, posted by Kanho police, reads.
On Tuesday, a Tibetan man set himself on fire and died on a main road in Labrang town in Kanlho, the third burning protest to take place in Gansu since Saturday and the seventh in Tibetan regions in less than a month.
It brought to 58 the total number of self-immolations challenging Beijing’s rule and demanding the return of the Dalai Lama since February 2009.
Calling the protests “acts against humanity and society, and against the [Chinese] constitution,” the notice posted by Kanlho police offers rewards of 50,000 yuan (U.S. $7,913) for information on “the sources of scheming, planning, and instigating such acts.”
The notice says public tip-offs on the self-immolation protests could lead to “timely intervention” by the authorities.
Information leading police to the “planners” of the four most recent self-immolations in Kanlho—believed by most observers to have been solitary acts—will receive a reward of 200,000 yuan (U.S. 31,774), the notice promises.
“Police will protect and take responsibility for the safety and confidentiality of the informant, and the reward will be delivered in secret,” the notice says.
“Self-immolations have seriously affected social harmony and the working order of people’s daily lives,” the notice says, adding, “The Tibetan people should voluntarily fight against such illegal acts.”
Tibet’s India-based exile parliament has meanwhile called on foreign governments and human rights organizations to apply “meaningful pressure” on China to end the crisis in Tibet.
“The self-immolations by Tibetans [are the] highest form of nonviolent protest against the Chinese government’s systematic repression of their freedom of religion and human rights,” the parliament said in a statement Wednesday.
It also pointed to what it called China’s “destruction of Tibetan language, culture and environment, and assimilation of Tibetan nationality through [the] induced massive influx of Chinese population into Tibet.”
China should allow independent fact-finding delegations and media to investigate conditions in Tibetan areas, the statement said.
“If the Chinese government does not face the reality in Tibet, the situation there is bound to deteriorate, for which it has to take the full responsibility.”
Reported by Chakmo Tso for RFA’s Tibetan service. Translated by Dorjee Damdul. Written in English with additional reporting by Richard Finney.
CORRECTION: This updates the second amount offered in reward to the correct figure, 200,000 yuan.