Tibetan officials warned to maintain stability

Security in Tibet Security has been tightened in areas like Chengdu in Sichuan province.

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The Tibetan regional government has warned its officials to maintain stability or face dismissal or criminal charges ahead of the Tibetan new year.

The notice was posted on the regional government website.

It follows a series of deadly protests in Sichuan province in January and the self-immolations of 19 ethnic Tibetans in the past year in apparent protest against Chinese rule.

Tibet celebrates its new year on 22 February.

The anniversary of deadly 2008 riots in Lhasa falls shortly afterwards, on 14 March.

'Extreme importance'

Citing the government notice, the Tibet Daily newspaper said that officials were warned that they "must put all their efforts into maintaining a stable, unified social situation in our region".

They were also urged to "have a clear head and fully recognise the extreme importance and urgency of the job of maintaining stability".

The Tibet Divide

Map
  • China says Tibet always part of its territory
  • Tibet had long periods of autonomy
  • China launched a military assault in 1950
  • Opposition to Chinese rule led to a bloody uprising in 1959
  • Dalai Lama fled to India

The newspaper, however, made no mention of the recent protests or self-immolations.

According to the official government announcement, at least two alleged cases of dereliction of duty had been reported. No further details were provided.

The ethnic Tibetan areas of Sichuan province are said to remain extremely tense. Correspondents say the recent violence in the region is the most serious outbreak of anti-government protest among Tibetans in nearly four years.

Since March 2011, at least 19 Tibetans have set themselves on fire in apparent protest against Beijing's rule. The most recent three cases happened on Friday in Seda county in Sichuan province, activists said.

Last month, three violent protests were reported in the same province. One protester was killed on 23 January in a confrontation with security forces in Draggo county, known as Luhuo in Chinese.

China also confirmed that a Tibetan was shot dead by security forces in Seda county on 25 January. A man in Aba prefecture was also reportedly shot dead during a protest in the week that followed.

Tibetan campaign groups, however, say that the number of Tibetans shot dead is higher than the Chinese government's count. The figures are hard to verify because foreign journalists are not allowed to enter areas of unrest in Sichuan.

In March 2008, deadly riots erupted in Lhasa, Tibet's capital, and spread across the region.

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