Saturday, March 9, 2013

Official: No Tibetan Residents Have Self-Immolated in Tibet

On March 3, 2013, the People's Daily web site published an English language Xinhua report entitled "No Local Residents, Monks, Nuns Self-Immolate in Tibet: Official." Some excerpts:
No local residents, monks or nuns in Tibet Autonomous Region have self-immolated so far, despite a string of similar incidents in neighboring Tibetan-inhabited regions, said a Tibetan official.
"People in Tibet including monks and nuns deserve a happy life. They cherish life and love the society and the country," said Padma Choling (白玛赤林), deputy secretary of the regional committee of the Communist Party of China.
. . . .
Multiple deadly self-immolation cases have happened since 2011 in regions predominantly inhabited by Tibetans in Sichuan, Qinghai and Gansu provinces. 
The People's Daily also report the official's statement in a March 4 Chinese language report entitled "Padma Choling: The Key to Tibetan Development Lies in Taking Good Care of Our Own Affairs"  (白玛赤林:西藏发展关键是把自己的事情办好)

On May 28, 2012, Xinhua published an English language report entitled "One dead in pair of self-immolations in Lhasa." Some excerpts:
Two Tibetan men set themselves on fire on a well-known market street in downtown Lhasa Sunday afternoon, leaving one dead and the other seriously injured. 
Dargye, from Aba county in the Tibetan area of southwest China's Sichuan province, and Tobgye Tseten, from Xiahe county in a Tibetan community of the country's northwestern Gansu province, attempted the self-immolations at 2:16 pm on Pargor Street in the heart of Lhasa, the publicity department of Tibet's regional committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) said in a press release early Monday.
This screenshot shows that the story, originally available at this URL -, was subsequently deleted.

These screenshots show that as of 5 pm on May 28, 2012, a search on Sina Weibo for "self-immolation" (自焚) returned millions of results. The same search done several hours later only returned a notice saying "In accordance with relevant laws, regulations, and policies, search results for 'self-immolation' have not been displayed." (根据相关法律法规和政策,“自焚”搜索结果未予显示).

Sina eventually stopped censoring searches for "self-immolation," but on August 21, 2012, Xinhua reported that according to a survey by the state-sponsored China Central Television, Lhasa topped the list of "the happiest cities in China in 2012." Shortly after that report came out Sina once again began censoring searches for "self-immolation." See:

These screenshots, taken on March 6, 2013, shows that while Baidu apparently does not censor search results for either "Lhasa" or "Self-Immolation," it restricts search results for "Lhasa Self-Immolation" (拉萨 自焚) to its strict white list comprised of about a dozen web sites controlled by the central government and the Communist Party.
This screenshot, taken the same day shows, however, that Baidu does not appear to censoring that phrase for its image search product.