Don't forget human rights! Alarming situation in Tibet: 6 self-immolations in the past 13 days

Europe-China summit in Beijing

The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) has appealed to EU Commission president José Manuel Barroso to address the alarming situation in Tibet at the EU-China summit to be held this Wednesday in Beijing. "The grievous human rights situation should not be left out of the talks, even if many Europeans are hoping for substantial aid from China to support the euro," explained Ulrich Delius of the STP's Asia section. "Six self-immolations by Tibetans in the past thirteen days have made it clear just how explosive the situation in Tibet is. China's "hard hand" policy is fueling the Tibetan protests. This cannot be a matter of indifference to Europe, with more protests and persecution impending in Tibet."

Just yesterday Tenzin Choedon, an 18-year-old nun from the Dechen Choekhorling convent, died of injuries sustained when she set fire to herself last Saturday. Yesterday (Monday), 19-year-old monk Losang Gyatso from the Kirti monastery attempted to set himself on fire in a public street in the city of Ngaba. Chinese security forces put out the fire and then proceeded to beat the seriously injured young man, reported eyewitnesses. That was the 23rd time since 2009 that a Tibetan has sought to take his or her own life to protest persecution by China's Communist Party and state security forces.

Since the end of January 2012, instances of self-immolation by Tibetans have reached dramatic proportions. "Six attempts at self-immolation in only thirteen days clearly show that very few Tibetans believe the Chinese government when it claims that freedom of religion and of opinion are respected, and that life has improved for the Tibetans," said Delius. "The protests make it obvious that the Tibet question has not been resolved."

Just last Thursday the head of the Communist Party in Tibet, Chen Quango, called for a "battle" against the "Dalai-Lama clique" and stated that it is a complicated battle that will take a long time. China's Communist Party is fighting this battle on all levels – not only through massive controls carried out at the monasteries and convents, and systematic interference in the religious practices of Tibetan Buddhists, but also by arbitrary arrests of journalists, writers, film makers and intellectuals. Twenty-seven of the journalists currently imprisoned for political reasons in China are from Tibet.