12/28/2012, 00.00
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Beijing seizes monasteries' TVs to stop self-immolations in Tibet

The communist government of Tibet orders the seizure of television sets and satellite dishes installed on about 300 monasteries in the prefecture of Huangnan which "broadcast anti-Chinese programs”. But the number of victims of the repression continues to rise.

Dharamsala (AsiaNews / Agencies) - After accusing the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan government in exile and even the teachings of Buddhism, the Chinese authorities are trying to stop the self-immolations in Tibet by removing television sets and satellites found in the local monasteries. According to local press, a team sent by the Communist government confiscated equipment from 300 monasteries in the remote prefecture of Huangnan because of "anti-Chinese broadcasts."

The state news agency in China's Qinghai province on the borders with Tibet, writes: " At this moment, critical for maintaining social stability in Huangnan prefecture ... [we must] strengthen measures and fully fight the special battle against self-immolations".

Also according to the agency, the local government would have invested 8.64 million yuan (about  1 million euros) to install 50 transmitters which broadcast 70 per cent of TV channels in the prefecture. But this "media offensive" has proven unsuccessful, because thanks to the internet and satellites the majority of the population follows the programs prepared and aired by the Tibetan diaspora.

Beijing seems increasingly desperate in the fight to stop the self-immolations. The number of people who have chosen to kill themselves by setting themselves on fire has increased significantly in November, during the 18th Chinese Communist Party Congress that crowned the "Fifth Generation" of national leaders. According to Tibetan sources, the victims are now almost 100.

The tensions have increased to the point that Beijing has stepped up security measures in the county of Rebgong, home to the monastery of Rongwo (built about 600 years ago and the scene of dozens of self-immolations) by installing a number of checkpoints to keep tourists out. Thousands of paramilitaries patrol roads and religious buildings in an attempt to block the sacrifices, while the local police officers have been "armed" with fire extinguishers.


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