In April 2013, the local government in Dzoege (Ch: Ru-ergai) County in Ngaba (Ch: Aba) Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture (Sichuan Province) announced that it was taking every man, woman, and child hostage. In a document recently smuggled out of Dzoege County dated 8 April 2013, the government announced that if there was a self-immolation it would punish the immolator’s village, monastery, and family. Unlike previous policies that targeted people for “inciting” self-immolations or punished people for refusing to provide a government sanctioned explanation of the immolation, Dzoege government is punishing people explicitly because of what somebody else did.
The document issued by Dzoege County government contains 16 articles and begins by targeting the self-immolator’s family—the internationally recognized “natural and fundamental group unit of society” (ICESCR Art. 10; ICCPR Art. 23). Family members of self-immolators will be blacklisted (Art. 6) and subject to criminal sanctions, such as the deprivation of political rights (Art 2). They will also be deprived of employment with the government (Art. 1), excluded from all welfare benefits for 3 years (Art. 4), denied ownership of their houses and lands (Art.10), prevented from starting a business (Art. 10), and barred from traveling to Lhasa or to foreign countries (Art. 11). [Read more...]