Beijing: Dozens of Tibetans, including monks,
held up a portrait of the Dalai Lama in a community in
southwestern China in an act of defiance days after other
Tibetans set themselves on fire to protest Chinese rule.
Police in Seda county said today that officers dealt with
the gathering, but declined to say whether any of the Tibetans
were arrested in the incident yesterday.
China is sensitive to protests by Tibetans because they
threaten its control over its western region and may inspire
protests in other parts of China by people with possible
grievances against the government.
At least 16 Buddhist monks, nuns and other Tibetans are
believed to have set themselves on fire in the past year four
this month mostly in traditionally Tibetan areas of Sichuan
Most have chanted for Tibetan freedom and the return of
their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, who fled to India amid
an abortive uprising against Chinese rule in 1959.
China has vilified the Dalai Lama for more than a decade,
accusing him of a campaign to split the Himalayan region from
the rest of China, and has tried to get monks to denounce him
in political education programs held in religious institutions
in Tibetan areas. The Dalai Lama says he is only seeking
increased autonomy for Tibet.
Yesterday, fewer than 100 Tibetans gathered and held a
portrait of the Dalai Lama, said the official at Seda county
public security bureau in Sichuan province who gave only his
"The New Year festival is coming up so they want to draw
attention by creating an incident," he said, referring to the
Chinese New Year later this month.
Wang said police dealt with the incident, but declined to
give any further details.