BEIJING – Chinese authorities are responding to an intensified wave of Tibetan self-immolation protests against Chinese rule by clamping down even harder.
They have criminalized the suicides, arrested protesters' friends and even confiscated thousands of satellite TV dishes.
The harsh measures provide an early indication that the country's new leadership is not easing up on Tibet despite the burning protests and international condemnation.
For months, as Tibetans across western China doused themselves in gasoline and set themselves alight, authorities responded by sending in security forces to seal off areas, but those efforts did not stop or slow the protests.
Then the government went onto the offensive in December, saying that those who help others self-immolate are liable to be prosecuted for murder. Arrests quickly followed.