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China intensifies media war over Tibet self-immolations with release of new documentary

December 26, 2012

DHARAMSHALA, December 26: China has intensified its propaganda blitzkrieg over the self-immolation protests in Tibet, this time with the release of a documentary which claims to “disclose the truth” about the protests.

According to Xinhua, the state news agency, the documentary titled ‘Facts About Self-Immolation in Tibetan Areas of Ngapa (Aba)’ was broadcast on CCTV-4, an international channel targeting overseas viewers of Chinese language on Sunday night. The documentary was later aired on CCTV's English, Spanish, French, Arabic, and Russian channels on Monday.

According to Xinhua, the documentary contains interviews with the "masterminds" and "victims" of the self-immolations and further alleges that the monks in the region were "acting on orders sent from overseas."

“The documentary also states that the Dalai clique masterminded the self-immolations in order to split China,” the report said.

Since 2009, as many as 95 Tibetans have set themselves on fire protesting China’s continued occupation of Tibet and demanding freedom and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile. The month of November, during which China held its 18th Party Congress, was the deadliest since the wave began with 28 self-immolations and major protests involving thousands of Tibetans.

In recent weeks, China’s state run newspapers have devoted an increasing number of editorials, reports, and opinion pieces by “Tibet scholars,” all aimed at reinforcing Beijing’s official line of blaming the Tibet crisis on exile Tibetans.

China’s foreign ministry has repeatedly expressed opposition and dissatisfaction over international calls to address the grievances of the Tibetan people, terming them as “gross intervention in China's internal affairs.”

Earlier this month, the Dharamshala based Central Tibetan Administration challenged Beijing to prove its allegations after authorities detained a monk and his nephew and accused them of instigating self-immolations of eight Tibetans on the instructions of the Dalai Lama.

“If China genuinely wishes to end the self-immolations, instead of resorting to the blame game it should allow unfettered access to international bodies to Tibetan areas to investigate the root causes for these self-immolations,” Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay, the elected head of the Tibetan people said.

Despite repeated international calls for restraint and reconsideration of its policies, China has hardened its stance on the self-immolation protests and announced stricter measures including pressing of murder charges against anyone caught aiding or inciting self-immolations and cash rewards for those “exposing crimes” related to the protests.

China continues to cut off Tibet from the rest of the world even as international clamour over diplomatic access and visits by foreign media has grown in recent weeks. The United Nations, European Union, US, UK, and Canada have blamed China’s policies for exacerbating the situation in Tibet and urged Beijing to allow investigative visits to the region.

The Dalai Lama has repeatedly called for “serious investigation”” in to the self-immolations and noted that the protests were a symptom of problems that Tibetans did not create.

CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
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