Burning Tibetan Charges At Police

A 27-year-old father of two becomes the 56th Tibetan self-immolator.
2012-10-20
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tibet-Lhamo-Kyap-305.gif
An undated photo of Lhamo Kyap.
Photo courtesy of an RFA listener.

A Tibetan man set himself ablaze and charged at Chinese security forces in Gansu province Saturday, in the fifth self-immolation protest against Chinese rule in less than a month, according to sources inside Tibet.

Lhamo Kyap, a 27-year-old father of two young daughters, torched himself and ran in flames towards a group of plainclothes policemen who tried to stop him outside the Bora monastery in Sangchu (Xiahe, in Chinese) county in the Kanlho (Gannan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, the sources said.

Citing local residents, the sources said that before succumbing to his burns, Lhamo Kyap shouted slogans against Chinese rule and called for the return of exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

"At 2 p.m., he set himself on fire near the monastery and ran towards the monastery," one source told RFA's Tibetan service, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"When he encountered some policemen in plainclothes, who were pretending to circumambulate the monastery and tried to stop him, he charged at them," the source said. "They avoided him."

Prayers

Monks from the Bora monastery and hundreds of local residents converged at the area and took his body to the monastery where prayers were held, according to another source inside Tibet. The body was later taken to his home.

"Several hundred residents of Bora area rushed to the scene the moment they heard about the incident. They brought his body from the monastery to his home, chanting prayers in chorus," the source said.

Lhamo Kyap left behind a wife, Dorjee Kyi, and two daughters under 10 years old—Pema Tso and Drukmo Tso, the source said.

His self-immolation is the 56th since the wave of burnings protesting Chinese rule began in February 2009.

It is also the fifth burning protest since Sept. 29, defying calls by exile Tibetan groups to stop the self-immolation protests.

On Sept. 28, more than 400 Tibetan exiles from 26 countries called for an end to the Tibetan self-immolation protests after a three-day meeting in India's hill town Dharamsala, the seat of the Tibetan government in exile and where the Dalai Lama resides.

They expressed “grave concern” over the burnings and urged Tibetans inside Tibet not to take “drastic actions.”

Similar expressions of concern from exile figures and from the Dalai Lama himself over the burnings have gone largely unheeded in the past.

Human rights groups say the wave of self-immolation protests will continue until the underlying rights and other problems in the Tibetan-populated areas are addressed by the Chinese authorities.

Chinese authorities however have labeled the self-immolators as terrorists, outcasts, criminals, and mentally ill people and have blamed the Dalai Lama for encouraging the burnings.

Reported by RFA's Tibetan service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Parameswaran Ponnudurai.