Face off before worldwide vigil, China vows to ‘resolutely crackdown’ on Tibet unrest

Tibetans in Drango offering their last respects to Norpa Yonten who was shot dead in Chinese police firings on January 23, 2012.
A day ahead of the worldwide vigil for Tibet announced by the democratically elected Tibetan leadership in exile, China on Tuesday vowed to “resolutely crackdown” on unrest in Tibetan areas.

"The Chinese government will resolutely crack down on any attempt to incite violence or to disrupt national unity and integrity," foreign ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said.

In Tibet, 20 Tibetans have set their bodies on fire demanding the return of exiled Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama and protesting China’s continued occupation of Tibet.

Many parts of Tibet remain cut off from outside world with a prevailing situation of undeclared martial law following mass protests in recent weeks in which at least a dozen Tibetans are feared dead in police firings.

Liu went on to accuse overseas activist groups, including the pro-independence Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) and the Dalai Lama of fomenting the recent “violence”.

"We believe the series of incidents are obviously masterminded and incited by someone behind the scenes," Liu said while going on to blame the TYC of “initiating a signing campaign among domestic religious believers calling upon Tibetans to self-immolate to protest and asking the signatories to self-immolate at different places at different times.”

Fearing the spread of protests in other parts of Tibet, Chinese authorities in central Tibet posted a statement on its website Monday, warning any official found failing in his or her "duty" of maintaining stability "must be fired on the spot and will be subject to disciplinary penalties".

The Tibetan de facto Prime Minister Dr Lobsang Sangay had earlier urged Tibetans and Tibet supporters all over the world to take part in a global vigil on Wednesday, February 8.

“To demonstrate our solidarity with Tibetans in Tibet, I urge Tibetans and our friends around the world, to participate in a worldwide vigil on Wednesday, February 8, 2012,” Kalon Tripa said.

“Let’s send a loud and clear message to the Chinese government that iolence and killing of innocent Tibetans is unacceptable!”

Tibetans in the exile headquarters of Dharamshala, north India will be taking part in a mass prayer session and candle light vigil Wednesday as part of the worldwide vigil.

Kalon Tripa Dr Lobsang Sangay will be addressing the gathering.

Meanwhile in China, after a number of journalists were harassed, detained, and obstructed from trying to enter the troubled regions of eastern Tibet, foreign journalists working in China have called for unfettered access to the Tibetan areas.

The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China (FCCC) in a statement last week said the restrictions imposed on the journalists were in “clear violation” of China’s regulations governing foreign reporters and noted that the journalists were merely trying to “independently confirm the truth of reports” from the area.

“We call on the Chinese government to recognise our purely professional motivation and to abide by its own regulations that allow us to enter the areas in question,” the journalist group said.

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