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Dharamshala: Chinese government authorities decided to take stringent precautions to prevent against self-immolations and all other kinds of protest at the popular annual horse-racing festival at Machu county in Kanlho (Chinese: Gannan, Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu Province), north-eastern Tibet.

On 12 August, 2012, hundreds of armed forces personnel, specifically People's Armed Police, were deployed at the horse-racing festival in order to ensure that no Tibetans will use the public event to stage any protest, including, but not limited to, self-immolations, suicide, smashing, or looting. In addition, local Chinese authorities also issued 11-points public notice requesting Tibetans to refrain from expressing their grievances at the open event. The note, written in both Tibetan and Chinese, prohibited anyone from carrying ‘hazardous' objects, such as flammable liquids and poisonous items, as well as engaging in any protest activities. Violating these rules will result in punishment varying anywhere from imprisonment to prosecution in courts.

"In the notice, China has stated several points but the main issue is they are afraid that Tibetans might protest against the government and they are warning us not to set ourselves ablaze or protest against the government,"
stated Dolkar Kyap, a Machu native and member of Tibetan Parliament in exile.

The annual Machu horse-racing festival has thousands of attendees from all over Tibet as well as China, and is considered as one of the most

well-known events in the Tibetan province of Amdo. However the event has been discontinued for some years since the waves of protest occurring in 2008 in Tibet.

Previously in March 2012, Chinese authorities in Kanlho issued a notice throughout the entire prefecture discouraging any form of anti-government protest. Instead, they insisted that the public report directly to the police any ‘illegal' activities intended at disrupting ‘social stability and national unity.'

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