China has raised security and made calls to be alert in its Tibet autonomous region. This follows a recent series of self-immolations and burning of property in protest at continued Chinese control. These acts have been concentrated mainly in the Sichuan and Gansu provinces of Tibet.
Tibet has never been a docile and obedient region for the Chinese. Ruled by Communist rule since 1950, the numbers of self-immolations and angry protests have continued.
The Chinese are calling for increased security and for officials to be alert considering that these signs of protest are on the increase. To the Chinese they are an unpleasant memory of the riots that shook Tibet five years ago come this March.
There is no doubt that security will be stepped up on the anniversary of these riots and could even see more self-immolations, thus discrediting and embarrassing the Chinese regime.
Many internal observers have expressed their sorrow concerning these measures and hope that a change in policy will accompany them to prevent further occurrences.
However, China is tightening its grip on security more so than before and is ignoring these calls for change. In their defence of Communist rule, they attempt to press home that Tibet has seen many signs of development from a once feudal age. The end of serfdom is their best defence.
Those who search for a Chinese commitment to reform will continue to search in vain.