A plateau region north-east of the Himalayas, Tibet was incorporated by China in 1950 and currently an autonomous region within China. The conflict between many Tibetans and Chinese government has been nonstop as many demand religious freedom and more human rights. In March, 2008, a series of protests turned into riots in different regions across Tibet. Rioters attacked Han ethnic inhabitants and burned their businesses, resulting dozens of death.
UN rights boss chides China over Tibet protests
The top UN human rights official urged China on Friday to address deep-rooted frustrations that have led to desperate forms of protest by Tibetans, including some 60 self-immolations since March.
“Social stability in Tibet will never be achieved through heavy security measures and suppression of human rights,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said in a rare statement critical of China.
Pillay “urged Chinese authorities to promptly address the longstanding grievances that have led to an alarming escalation in desperate forms of protest, including self-immolations in Tibetan areas”.
She also urged the government to respect the rights to peaceful assembly and expression and to release all those detained for exercising those rights.
The victims include seven Tibetans who set fire to themselves in the past two weeks in protest against what they claim is repressive Chinese rule in the Himalayan region.
The Chinese foreign ministry was not immediately available for comment. China has branded the self-immolators “terrorists” and criminals, and has blamed the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Dalai Lama, for inciting them.