Following the reports of 15 party officials in Tibetan Autonomous Region being punished for joining separatism, the party secretary of the TAR transportation department has been put under investigation for a “serious violation of disciplinary.” According to state-run Tibetan language news of the Tibetan People’s Daily, 62 year old Lobsang Tsering, who was born in Chamdo and had held position as CPC Secretary of Lhoka Prefecture in TAR, has been the party secretary of regional transportation department since 2011. The recent crackdown on the officials in TAR came after the warning from Chen Quanguo, the head of TAR, in November that said “cadres who harbor fantasies about the 14th Dalai Lama Group” would be “severely punished.” Because the Chinese official media has not given details about what exactly those officials had done, human rights observers question whether in fact they have broken any Chinese laws. “If these officials have simply talked about autonomy, self-determination or independence, they are allowed to do that under Chinese law,” says Sophie Richardson, the China Director of the Human Rights Watch. “So I am very skeptical that any actual crime or the violations of law have been committed in these cases.” Previously a millionaire Party member and head of Shenhu Group was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2010 for donating nearly 3 million dollars to the Dalai Lama’s office in India. On January 28, People’s Daily reported 15 party officials in TAR were accused of involving in “underground Tibetan independence organizations and providing intelligence to the Dalai Lama Group” were punished. However, what punishments given to them have not been mentioned in the Chinese official media. China accuses the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, of secretly seeking for Tibet independence, the accusation which he denies. Since 2009, 136 Tibetans have reportedly self-immolated to protest Chinese rule of their homeland.