In this handout photo released by The International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) on December 7, 2012, Dorje Rinchen is seen ablaze after he set himself on fire on October 23, 2012 in Xiahe.

Beijing - China's government says it has detained 70 people in ethnic Tibetan areas in a crackdown following a series of self-immolations aimed at protesting Communist rule.

The detentions, reported by the official Xinhua News Agency, reflect stepped-up efforts by Beijing to stamp out protests in which nearly 100 Tibetan monks, nuns and lay people have set themselves on fire since 2009. They are calling for Beijing to allow greater religious freedom and the return from exile of the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

Xinhua said the latest detentions occurred in an ethnic Tibetan area of Qinghai province, which abuts Tibet. It said 12 of those detained were formally arrested but gave no details of the charges. - Sapa-AP