In response to the most vicious crackdown by Chinese forces since 2008, Tibetan prime minister-in-exile Lobsang Sangay has exhorted Tibetans not to celebrate Tibetan New Year, which falls on February 22, and called for a worldwide vigil.
“I call on the international community to show solidarity and to raise your voices in support of the fundamental rights of the Tibetan people at this critical time,” Mr Sangay said.
“I request that the international community and the United Nations send a fact-finding delegation to Tibet and that the world media be given access to the region as well.
“Stability cannot be restored in Tibet through violence and killings of Tibetans. The only way to resolve the issue and bring about lasting peace is by respecting the rights of the Tibetan people and through dialogue.”
A 20-year-old Tibetan student was killed after Chinese forces opened fire on protesters in Sichuan’s Aba prefecture, reports said. He was one of at least three who have been killed in the western province. Dozens more have been injured and 136 people arrested, rights groups said.
Susette Cooke, a Tibet expert and researcher at the Sydney University of Technology’s China Research Centre, told The Australian the protests suggested broadening anger among Tibetans following self-immolation by 16 people – mainly Buddhist monks and nuns – over Chinese restrictions on their religion and culture.
“The self-immolations have resulted in a second wave of protests by Tibetans who share the same views as the people who have set themselves on fire,” Dr Cooke said