Chinese Parliamentary Sessions 2013
March 2013 sees the annual meeting of the two legislative and consultative bodies of China, where major policies are decided and key government officials appointed. The National People's Congress (NPC) is held in the Great Hall of the People in China's capital, Beijing, and with 2,987 members, is the largest parliament in the world. It gathers alongside the People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) whose members represent various groups of society.
Tibet deputy party chief urges crackdown on self-immolations
Tibet autonomous region officials yesterday called for a crackdown on the wave of self-immolations by ethnic Tibetans in protest against Chinese rule, saying there was "abundant" evidence that they were linked to the Dalai Lama's "splittist" activities.
On the sidelines of the annual session of the National People's Congress, Tibet deputy party secretary Padma Choling said that they were inhumane acts that went against Tibetan Buddhist doctrine.
He also hinted that the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, was responsible for encouraging them. "Tibetan Buddhism advocates not to kill - and this is trampling on people's lives," Padma Choling said. "The responsibility is very clear."
Asked whether he had evidence of a link between the suicides and the Dalai Lama, he said: "No matter what, there is no need for the Tibet Autonomous Region to provide evidence to crack down (on the self-immolations)."
Qiangba Puncog, also a deputy party secretary in Tibet, said "the evidence of collusion between domestic and overseas forces is abundant" and that government investigations and media reports backed up the claim, but did not provide details. "Our media have reported how they were incited and planned," he said. "The Dalai clique cannot be extricated."
A Tibetan monk doused himself in petrol and set himself on fire in a Kathmandu tourist area last month, becoming the 100th self-immolation attempt since 2009, according to the Dalai Lama's office in New Delhi.
The Dalai Lama's office has said the protests, mostly in Tibetan-inhabited areas of China, are a reaction to religious persecution under Chinese rule.
But Beijing blames the Dalai Lama for encouraging the immolations and said it has vastly invested in the region to bring modernisation to Tibet.