Stepping up its crackdown against self-immolation protests in Tibet, China has detained 70 suspects for a string of suicides in November last year, coinciding with the once-in-a-decade leadership change in China's ruling Communist Party.
A total of 70 people have been detained by the police in Huangnan of northwest China's QinghaiProvince in connection with a string of self-immolations that have occurred since November 2012, state-run Xinhua news agency quoted a senior police officer as saying on Thursday.
Lyu Benqian, deputy chief of the Qinghai provincial public security department, said 12 of the suspects were officially arrested over the self-immolation cases in the Huangnan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.
The self-immolation cases were influenced by the separatism of the Dalai Lama clique, as the Dalai Lama has prayed for self-immolators and Tibetan separatists overseas flaunt them as ‘heroes’, he said.
There was a big spurt in self-immolations with 23 such cases reported in November last year, the highest in one month apparently to coincide with the 18th Party Congress to elect a new leadership.
About 95 to 100 Tibetans have so far committed suicide in the recent months protesting Chinese rule in Tibet and calling for the return of the Dalai Lama from exile in India.
So far China has convicted seven persons, including a Buddhist monk, who was given a two-year suspended death sentence.
"Some of the victims (of self-immolation) were frustrated and pessimistic in life, and they wanted to earn respect by self-immolation," Lyu said while analysing the motive for the action.
On Wednesday night, China's state-run television aired a documentary accusing the Dharamsala-based Tibetan Youth Congress of orchestrating the incidents.
The half-an-hour documentary, second by CCTV, has also accused the Tibetan service of the Voice of America (VOA) of passing on coded messages to some of the contacts in Tibet at the instance of Dalai Lama supporters.