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Tibetan Self-immolaters' Families Will Have Benefits Removed

December 3, 2012

Dharamshala, December 1, 2012: - The Chinese government has stated it will cut all benefits and aid to the families of self-immolaters in Tibet and all who contact them. At least 90 people have set themselves on fire since the self-immolations began in 2009 and 74 of them have died. Most self-immolators were lay and the younger generation of Tibetans in recent months, who are speaking up against the Chinese regime's rule in Tibet, called for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile and freedom in Tibet.

In a stark warning aired on a local television channel in Malho, Amdo, which includes the county of Rebkong in which six self-immolations occurred during the Chinese Communist Party's week-long 18th Party Congress, when Xi Jinping was selected as China's next president, the Huangnan Prefecture Party Work Department and Huangnan Prefecture People's Government Work Department also threatened to 'swiftly investigate', 'give corrective training' and cut all benefits to anyone who makes contact with or tries to help the families of self-immolaters.

Lamas and 'monastery members' accused of reaching out to the families of those who set themselves alight to protest Chinese rule in their country will be 'punished heavily' and have their monasteries closed.

The statement, issued on November 14, blamed the 'Dalai group' for having used the ongoing spate of self-immolations in Tibet, 89 to date, to incite unrest in the region and 'split the nation,' claiming that the incidents in Rebkong had "caused serious damage to harmony and stability in the whole prefecture and been a negative influence on the province and nation."

The 'urgent notice' continued: "The masses in some areas, both monks and laypeople, are putting about random and nonsensical talk and being taken in by the incitements of the Dalai group through ignorance, believing the self-immolators to be heroes and even going to greet their family members and make voluntary donations to them.

"With firm determination, those responsible for implementing the policies of the provincial Party committee, and forcefully maintaining the appearance of social stability throughout the prefecture, must strictly crack down on and smash the small number of criminals who despicably manipulate people who do not understand the real situation and incite them to self-immolate and create social grievances."

The statement went on to outline the ways in which local authorities must "crack down on the small number of criminals."

"Each area, department and office must take swift measures to cancel benefits received by the households of self-immolators under public benefit policies, such as minimum income support, disaster relief aid and so on. All projects running on state funds in self-immolators' villages must be stopped. Townships in which multiple incidents of instability have occurred may not benefit from state-funded projects for the next three years.

"Laypeople and monks who greet and make donations (to the families of self-immolaters) must be given corrective training, and have benefits cancelled.

"Laypeople and monks who organised to greet family members and forced others to participate must be swiftly investigated, and once solid evidence of their activities is gathered, they must face legal proceedings at an early date, and be cracked down on and smashed quickly and heavily, according to law.

"In the case of Lamas and monastery members involved in such organising activities, their monasteries must be closed according to law and strictly investigated, and those involved in organising activities punished heavily.

"Officials who are found to have disregarded Party and government discipline and state laws to greet and make donations to the families of self-immolators must be swiftly dismissed from government service and handed over to the judicial departments to be strictly dealt with according to law."

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