Seventy people in Qinghai province were arrested Thursday in connection with the Tibetan self-immolations, according to Xinhua News Agency.
"Seventy suspects have been arrested in Huangnan in northwest China in connection with a series of self-immolations that have taken place since November," Xinhua quoted Lyu Bengia, deputy chief of the Qinghai Public Security Department, as saying.
Blaming the Dalai Lama and his alias in exile, the deputy chief said that the police would make more efforts to thoroughly investigate the cases and seriously punish those who incited innocent people to commit self-immolations.
"Some of the victims were frustrated and pessimistic in life, and they wanted to earn respect by self-immolation," said Lyu, signalling that those who self-immolate earn respect from fellow Tibetans in exile.
The deputy chief also said that Tibetans were influenced to follow the suit because the Dalai Lama is praying for the lives of the self-immolators.
Following the mass arrests, the Tibetan government-in-exile said that Chinese Communist Government was showing no sign of willingness to address the root causes of the self-immolations in Tibet.
Last month, the Chinese government sentenced a Tibetan named Lobsang Kunchok to death with a two-year reprieve while sentencing another called Lobsang Tserign to ten years on charges of intentional homicide.
"The Chinese government seems to think it can stop self-immolation by punishing anyone who talks about it. But in pursuing these 'incitement' cases, the government compounds the tragedy of these suicide protests," said Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch.
According to Tibetan rights group in exile, more than 90 people in Tibet have set themselves on fire in protest against the Chinese government.
In a bid to end the China-Tibet conflict, the Dalai Lama's envoys and Beijing had been holding talks since 2002 but the two sides ended the talks in 2010 after they failed to come to an agreement.
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