in Aba, a remote town on the Tibetan plateau, the Guardian saw how the Chinese authorities are trying to stifle dissent by the through security, propaganda and "rehabilitation"
On top of the world, the Chinese paramilitary trying to stifle Tibetan resistance to Beijing regime with peaks clubs, semi-automatic weapons and fire extinguishers.
every 20 meters along the main road in Aba, the remote town on the Tibetan plateau lies at the heart of the current wave of protests, police and Communist officials wearing red armbands look for potential demonstrators. Dozens of paramilitary sit in lines outside shops and restaurants in a program of intimidation of force.
In the nearby monastery of Kirti, the Chinese authorities in fire trucks to keep an eye on the pilgrims prostrate, if your dedication is sacrifice.
Outsiders are not supposed to. The Chinese authorities have made great efforts to block access to Aba, northwest Sichuan, home to more than half of the 23 Buddhist monks, nuns and lay people who set fire to themselves in acts of defiance led the Communist Party of China in the last two years.
Authorities blocked the Internet and mobile phone signals. Checkpoints have been established in neighboring roads to prevent outside observers, foreign journalists, especially the gap.
But after traveling 10 hours through the valleys and plains covered with snow, the Guardian was able to enter Aba and the testimony of how the authorities are trying to stifle dissent on safety, propaganda and "re-education" campaigns. These tactics have had little success. Despite floods Aba with security personnel, protests continue.The last one was held Saturday
. Choedron Tenzin, a nun of 18 years, shouted anti-China protests that she turned her body soaked in gasoline in Aba, exile groups said. His fate is now unknown state.
Three days earlier, a former monk of Kirti sacrificed even horrible. Rinzin Dorje, was taken to hospital, but his fate and welfare are not clear.
Such acts of self-harm and suicide are growing. According to exile groups, there were 23 self-immolation in the past two years, six of the past eight days. The Chinese government opposes the series, but it recognizes more than a dozen cases and warned against the unrest.
The ripple voltage is outward. Last week, the provincial capital of Chengdu, the riot police armed with fire extinguishers on hand watching the crowd in the main shopping district Chunxi. Out of sight, a Tibetan monk from Qinghai said the situation had worsened. "Now, it is difficult for Tibetans. Controls are very strict. There are lots of police."
in the Tibetan part of town, the police patrol cars were stationed every ten meters. Many people were intimidated. "It is difficult to speak. It is very sensitive. They say people are dead," said a trader from Aba. Others in the area were desperate for information from blocked areas on the Tibetan plateau.
"My mother, father and husband are still there. It is a concern. I have not been able to call more than a week, "said restaurant owner silk, where protests and self immolation has also been reported." The government says that only one person died but we have heard dozens were taken away and not knowing what happened to them. ", but was more intense in Aba, known in Tibetan Ngaba - a mountainous region of northwestern Sichuan, which has resisted Chinese rule since the Communist Party of decades. In the 1930s, Mao Zedong met with opposition here during their long march. In 2008, was the scene of some of the bloodiest clashes with security personnel. 13 and 23 of the current self-immolation took place here.
Today, Aba has roadblocks, spot checks and reminiscent of a security presence in areas of conflict in the Middle East or Northern Ireland.
But the violence here is mostly self-inflicted. And the battle is not for territory but for the hearts and minds and beliefs.
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