Tibetan Mother of Four Dies in Burning Protest

2013-03-24
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An undated photo of Kalkyi, the latest Tibetan self-immolator.
An undated photo of Kalkyi, the latest Tibetan self-immolator.
Photo courtesy of an RFA listener.

A Tibetan mother of four burned herself to death on Sunday in protest against Chinese rule in Sichuan province's Ngaba (in Chinese, Aba) prefecture, bringing the number of Tibetan self-immolations so far to 110.

Kalkyi, 30, torched herself near a monastery in Dzamthang (Rangtang) county "to highlight the Chinese policy of violent rule in Tibet and Tibetan populated areas," a source inside Tibet told RFA's Tibetan Service.

Local Tibetans took her body into the Jonang monastery immediately after the burning protest at about 3:30 p.m. local time before Chinese security forces arrived, sources said.

Tibetan monks and laymen are conducting funeral prayers at the monastery, they said.

Kalkyi, a mother of three sons and one daughter, all under 15 years of age, was from Barma township in Dzamthang in the Ngaba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.

She is the 16th woman to self-immolate since the fiery protests began in February 2009, questioning Chinese rule in Tibetan populated areas and calling for the return of Tibet's spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

Restrictions tightened

So far, 110 Tibetans have burned themselves in the desperate protests which are not petering out despite tighter restrictions imposed by Chinese authorities. Ninety of them have died.

Ngaba has been the epicenter of the Tibetan self-immolation protests.

On March 13, a Tibetan woman, Konchog Wangmo, 31, burned herself to death in Dzoege (Ruo'ergai) county in Ngaba but news of the burning was hushed up by Chinese police who had grabbed her body, cremated it, and handed over the remains to her family, according to sources.

Her husband, Drolma Kyab, was detained when he refused to comply with an order by the Chinese authorities who wanted to blame the self-immolation on a family squabble, the sources had said.

Three days later, a Tibetan monk from the restive Kirti monastery in Ngaba burned himself to death to mark the fifth anniversary of a bloody Chinese crackdown on Tibetans in the area.

Lobsang Thogme, 28, torched himself at the monastery to highlight a March 16, 2008 crackdown on Ngaba in which Chinese police fired on a crowd of Tibetans, killing at least 10, including one monk.

'Heroes Street'

The main road in Ngaba county was renamed last year by Tibetans as "Heroes Street" after it became a regular venue for the burnings.

Chinese authorities have recently tightened controls in Tibetan-populated areas to check the self-immolation protests, arresting and jailing more than a dozen Tibetans who they accused of being linked to the burning protests. Some were jailed up to 15 years.

Human rights groups have criticized the Chinese authorities for criminalizing the burning protests.

The authorities have also deployed paramilitary forces and restricted communications in the areas where self-immolations have occurred.

Reported by Lumbum Tashi and Yandon Demo for RFA's Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Parameswaran Ponnudurai.

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