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China not serious about Tibet, HRW says

Nov. 30, 2012 at 9:24 AM

NEW YORK, Nov. 30 (UPI) -- Human Rights Watch said the growing number of self-immolations in Tibet serves as reminder that Beijing isn't serious about addressing Tibetans' grievances.

Advocacy group Free Tibet this week reported self-immolations and demonstrations against Chinese authority. Human Rights Watch reported seven Tibetans have self-immolated since Monday.

"Self-immolation is an act of complete desperation to bring attention to the plight of Tibetans," Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement from New York.

His organization said Beijing has taken an aggressive stance against Tibetan communities. Social benefits were suspended in communities where self-immolations have occurred and rewards were offered by Chinese authorities for information on those suspected of assisting Tibetan protesters.

"The central government should devote as much energy to addressing the deep-rooted problems facing Tibetans as it is on punishing the families of those who have taken the drastic step of protesting by self-immolating," said Adams.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei was quoted by the official Xinhua news agency as saying the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, was working to "split China under the guise of religion."

More than 80 percent of the 89 Tibetans that self-immolated since 2009 have died, said Human Rights Watch.

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