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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Police offer rewards for immolation tip-offs after more Tibetan deaths

October 29, 2012

Beijing, October 26, 2012 -  Police in a heavily Tibetan region in the far west of China are offering tipsters a reward of 50,000 yuan (HK$66,000) for information about planned self-immolations, in a bid to stem the fiery protests against Beijing's rule.

Since the notice was issued on Sunday by police in Gansu province's Gannan prefecture, two more local Tibetans, a herdsman and a farmer, died after setting themselves on fire near the Labrang Monastery in Gannan.

Dozens of ethnic Tibetans have set themselves on fire on the mainland since March 2011 to protest against what activists say is Beijing's heavy-handed rule in Tibetan regions, including parts of Gansu, Sichuan , and Qinghai provinces as well as Tibet itself. Many have called for the return of the Dalai Lama, their exiled spiritual leader.

Gannan police issued a notice saying that the string of recent immolations in the community had "seriously impacted social stability and harmony as well as people's ability to live and work". It said that in order to crack down on the demonstrations, people who tip off police about immolation plans will be rewarded 50,000 yuan. The notice said that people who provide information on the "black hands" who organised four recent self-immolations would be rewarded up to 200,000 yuan. The notice promised to keep the identity of informers confidential.

Mainland authorities have accused supporters of the Dalai Lama of encouraging the self-immolations.

At least seven people have set themselves on fire in Gannan since March, including two women, and all have died, according to the International Campaign for Tibet, which is based in the United States.

On Monday, a herdsman died in Gannan's Xiahe county near the Labrang Monastery after setting himself on fire. A day later, a farmer died after setting himself on fire on Xiahe's main street.

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