China: 20 political cases in Tibet last year
BEIJING (AP) — China prosecuted 20 cases involving national security in Tibet last year, a state newspaper reported Monday, in an indication of continuing low-level unrest in the Himalayan region.
The cases dealt a “heavy blow” to those seeking the region’s independence, the official China Daily quoted a judge, Sodar, as saying. He gave no details about individual cases or the number of people who were prosecuted.
Sodar, who like many Tibetans uses just one name, said more high-pressure tactics will be used this year against separatists, including those operating within Tibet’s Buddhist religious establishment.
Authorities will “leave no room for separatists,” Sodar was quoted as saying in a report Sunday to the regional legislature.
Information about political cases is tightly restricted and no figures were given for the numbers of cases prosecuted in previous years.
However, the China Daily quoted Tibet’s governor, Lobsang Jamcan, as saying the situation remained “grave,” standard terminology used in describing the anti-separatist struggles in Tibet and Xinjiang just to the north, where Turkic Muslim Uighur separatists have also been battling Chinese rule.
Communist troops occupied Tibet in 1950, although Beijing says it has been part of China for centuries. Many Tibetans say Tibet was effectively independent for most of that time and chafe at restrictions on Buddhist observances and at large-scale migration to the region by settlers from other parts of China.
Tibet and ethnically Tibetan parts of western China have been under heavy security since a wave of sometimes violent rioting and protests against Chinese rule in 2008. In the regional capital, Lhasa, numerous checkpoints have been set up to verify the identities of Tibetans, and heavily armed police patrol around key temples and monasteries.
A wave of more than 100 self-immolations among Tibetans protesting Chinese rule has deeply unnerved the authorities, who routinely bar foreign reporters from visiting Tibetan areas. China has also refused new talks with representatives of the Dalai Lama, the region’s traditional Buddhist leader who fled into exile in India in 1959 and remains deeply revered among Tibetans.