22 August 2012 (CECC)
The frequency, geographic spread, and diversity of Tibetans who reportedly have committed self-immolation as they called for Tibetan freedom and the Dalai Lama’s return has increased since a December 2011 Commission report. The December report covered 13 self-immolations (8 reported fatal) that occurred from February 2009 to December 2011. All 13 of those self-immolations involved current or former monks or nuns; 12 took place in Sichuan province. Since then, as of August 10, 2012, an additional 33 Tibetans reportedly have committed similar self-immolation protests (29 reported fatal). Of these 33 self-immolations, 13 took place outside Sichuan province and 14 were persons who did not have a monastic background (i.e., laypersons).
The wave of self-immolations is concurrent with increasing Chinese Communist Party and government use of legal measures to repress and control core elements of Tibetan culture, and with the failure of the China-Dalai Lama dialogue process to achieve any sign of progress. The Party and government have also not indicated any willingness to consider Tibetan grievances in a more constructive manner and to hold themselves accountable for Tibetan rejection of Chinese policies. The Party and government have handled the crisis as a threat to state security and social stability instead of a policy failure.
Note: This report covers the period up to August 10, 2012.
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