China's foreign ministry promised to take measures to address Tibetan unrest, as it accused the Dalai Lama of encouraging Tibetans to commit suicide.
"The local government will take vigorous measures to ensure the safety of people and their property and normal social order," Foreign Minister Jiang Yu said.
Responding to criticism over Chinese rule over Sichuan, a largely Tibetan province, "China firmly opposes ethnic separatism, will resolutely protect national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and firmly opposes any country using the excuse of the so-called Tibet problem to interfere in China's internal affairs," she said.
China also said that the Dalai group beautified, and "played up such issues to incite" more Tibetans to commit suicide.
Seven monks from Kirti monastery have set themselves on fire in recent months. An eighth monk set himself on fire in another part of Sichuan province. China has since jailed three monks accused of assisting in one self-immolation and maintains a heavy security presence in Aba town.
On Thursday, police in full riot gear carrying automatic rifles and iron
bars stood guard outside the huge monastery, one of the most important
in Tibetan Buddhism, while all vehicles moving in and out of the town
were being checked. Large groups of soldiers in camouflage and carrying
automatic rifles were also spotted amid a large array of police buses,
trucks and armoured personnel carriers were also reported to be in the streets.
Report: China blames 'Dalai group' for Tibet unrest [AFP, 19 October 2011]
Report: China says to get tough after Tibetan burnings [Reuters, 20 October 2011]
Lobsang Sangay, the prime minister of Tibet's government-in-exile, has blamed China's "hard-line position" in Tibet over decades of Communist Chinese rule for pushing Tibetans into a "desperate situation".
"Through its propaganda, Beijing shows a different image, but in reality China practises colonialism and systematic destruction of the unique Tibetan culture, religion, language and environment because of which Tibetans have peacefully demonstrated time and again," he said.
Lobsang was speaking at a day of prayers in Dharamshala, India led by the Dalai Lama to demonstrate the support of exiled Tibetans.
The ceremony was "in solidarity with those Tibetans who have sacrificed their lives for the cause of Tibet and particularly those who self-immolated, their families and those suffering repression in Tibet", Sangay said.
"We pay homage to their courage and stand in solidarity with their indomitable spirit," the Harvard academic and international law expert added.
Beijing on Wednesday criticised his words, called the spate of self-immolations by Tibetan monks "terrorism in disguise."
Report: China accuses Dalai Lama of encouraging suicide by fire [BBC News, 19 October 2011]
Comment: China fears the living Tibetans – not those who set fire to themselves [Guardian, 19 October 2011]