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Sky network set up to stop self-immolations in Tibet

November 13, 2012

November 12, 2012 - Apart from offering handsome rewards for information, whether before or after any incident, China has set up a massive television surveillance network to cover restive areas of Tibet and bring to an end a wave of self-immolations. Officials at the 18th Party Congress (Nov 8-14) said Nov 9 that the "Skynet" network had divided the Tibetan regions into a closely monitored grid and that teams of security personnel could be mobilised within two minutes to end suicide attempts, reported The Daily Telegraph Nov 10. The report quoted Losang Gyaltsen, a vice-chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region government, as saying: "We do not want to see such incidents. We do not want anyone to spoil Tibet as a happy region. For locals, we are checking IDs and for visitors we have checkpoints and security checks on travel.” And he was further quoted as saying: "We also have a grid management system, so if any immolation happens in a certain block, we can launch an emergency rescue within two minutes." However, no evidence of such emergency rescue service was seen in the latest self-immolation which occurred on Nov 10 in Tsoe (Chinese: Hezuo) City of Kanlho Prefecture, Gansu Province, when police arrived on the scene well after 18-19-year-old Gonpo Tsering had been taken away by local Tibetans after he was all but dead after having set himself on fire. The report said Skynet was a highly secretive network which has hardly been mentioned in official state media communications. It is supposed to have a camera on every road in Tibet and in the historically Tibetan areas of Gansu and Sichuan provinces. The report noted that Beijing had been steadily expanding its use and in June and, in a rare mention, it was praised as a way of combating crime in the Tibetan regions.
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