For authorities, Tibetans who die burning in protest are ‘people with very bad reputation and criminal records’ Beijing has dismissed Tibetans, young and old, who have set themselves on fire in protest against Chinese rule as criminals or suspicious people with a “very bad reputation”. Despite extensive security, the government has failed to stop self-immolations, which have attracted attention and sympathy across the world. More than 20 monks, nuns, former clergy and ordinary people – including three in the last five days – have set themselves on fire in the past year , mostly in Aba county in south-western Sichuan province. “Some of the suicides are committed by clerics returning to lay life, and they all have criminal records or suspicious activities. They have a very bad reputation in society,” said Wu Zegang, China’s top official in Aba.