China's response to the tragic series of self-immolations by Tibetan protesters has been a criminalization of activities alleged to be associated with these acts under Chinese law. Today, March 2, 2013, Phayul.com has reported, China sentences three Tibetans up to 15 years for self-immolation crimes. In eastern Tibet a Chinese court has passed down heavy prison terms of up to 15 years to three Tibetans for their crimes relating to the ongoing wave of self-immolations in Tibet.
It has been reported in an official Chinese newspaper in Kanlho region that a court in Luchu carried out the rulings this week. This court has sentenced Lhamo Dorjee to 15 years in prison, Kalsang Sonam to 11 years, and Tsesang Kyab to 10 years on charges of intentional homicide. The court hearing was reported to be a largely a closed door affair
and was held under tight security. Radio Free Asia reported, "The trial was conducted quietly with a huge presence of security forces in and around the Kanlho Prefecture court. The Tibetans were barred from coming close to the court premises."
Chinese courts have carried out a number of quick hearings and sentenced a Tibetan monk to death with a two-year reprieve and several others to lengthy jails terms in the past few months. In the aftermath of the court rulings Human Rights Watch had demanded the immediate release of the jailed Tibetans arguing that their conviction relied solely on confessions which they gave during five months in detention. Human Rights Watch has issued a statement on this matter, “These prosecutions are utterly without credibility. 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."