Chinese courts start to prosecute as more monks, nuns, and ordinary Tibetans protest policies to shun the Dalai Lama and absorb ancient culture.
Chinese courts today convicted eight Tibetans on accusations they incited others to self-immolate, the official Xinhua News Agency said.
The cases are the first known public prosecution of self-immolations and a further sign that Beijing is responding to the increasing number of fiery protests by criminalizing both the protesters and their friends and sympathizers.
The convictions also appear aimed at shoring up Beijing's claims that such acts are instigated by outsiders with ulterior motives, rather than genuine protests.
Nearly 100 Tibetan monks, nuns and lay people have now set themselves on fire since 2009, usually after calling for religious freedom and the return of their exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.