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Chinese State Media Blames America For Tibet's Self-Immolation Epidemic

Adam Taylor

In the last few years there has been a huge increase in the number of young Tibetans who, protesting Chinese rule, have set themselves on fire.

By last count there were almost 100 acts of self-immolation since 2009.

At this point it's becoming difficult for China to ignore the protesters, who accuse Beijing of religious suppression and the exile of Tibetan leader the Dailai Lamai.

So, Beijing has begun to be proactive — this week it announced that two men would be placed on trial for "intentional homicide" for encouraging an act of self-immolation.

It's not just a legal battle, however — there's also a media war.

On Monday national news channel China Central Television (CCTV) broadcast a documentary on the self-immolations that it claimed had been "created through in-depth research and interviews".

Not content with just showing the documentary in Mandarin, the broadcaster is showing the documentary in English, French, Spanish, Arabic and Russian, according to the Global Times.

One person watching the documentary is Angus Walker, China correspondent for Britain's ITV news channel. His tweets describe the documentary:

Watching CCTV documentary on Tibetans self immolating - claims Voice of America broadcasts 'secret coded' messages urging more protests

— Angus Walker (@anguswalkeritv) February 7, 2013

CCTV doco interviews survivor of self immolation who says "....I did it after listening to Voice of America.."

— Angus Walker (@anguswalkeritv) February 7, 2013

CCTV Tibetan protests doco shows pages from survivor's diary - writes that at first he thought he was "hero" now he thinks he is "fool"

— Angus Walker (@anguswalkeritv) February 7, 2013

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