(TibetanReview.net, Feb15, 2015) – Ahead of celebrations marking the Tibetan New Year, or Losar, beginning Feb 19, China has greatly strengthened security measures in such highly intimidating manners that these may themselves lead to a disturbance in Ngaba (Chinese: Aba) County of Sichuan Province, reported Radio Free Asia (Washington) Feb 13. The area has seen a number of self-immolations by protesting Tibetans since Feb 2009 and the period around Losar is especially sensitive including because of events which attract large gatherings.
The area has already been under high security because of past disturbances, which included a protest self-immolation in Dec 2014, and the authorities began reinforcing and strengthening it a week before Losar. A number of trucks brought in large numbers of Chinese troops over the past few days, with their behaviour towards the local Tibetans being hostile and highly intimidating, the report cited sources as saying.
“Checkpoints have been set up along the roads at a distance of every four or five Tibetan houses, and police are checking everyone’s identification papers,” the report quoted one local source as saying, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The same source has said, “Additional forces were sent to [Ngaba’s] Kirti Monastery to beef up surveillance there.” The monastery and the surrounding areas have seen a number of self-immolations by Tibetans protesting against Chinese rule, many of them carried out by current or former monks.