By Cal Widdall
Amidst disputed reports that three more Tibetan herders set themselves ablaze over the weekend to protest the government’s repressive policies (bringing the total number of self immolations over the past year to 19), the Chinese government has vowed to continue it’s crackdown on what it has described as a “handful of criminals illegally gathering and smashing and looting.”
The comments came from Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin during a routine briefing in which he stated, “The Chinese government will resolutely crack down on any attempt to incite violence or to disrupt national unity and integrity.”
He also added that the speed with which overseas Tibetan activist groups reported the unrest “showed that they have colluded and premeditated the incidents.”
Tibetan media outlets have accused the government of opening fire on peaceful protestors but with the ban on foreign media entering the area of unrest still standing, it remains difficult to substantiate either side’s claims.
On a related note, perhaps some China-watching intellectual could make great expository hay over how the similarities between suicidal workers at Foxconn and the self-immolating Tibetan monks of Sichuan, and the degree to which they’re representative of the current China-obsessed zeitgeist.