Another Tibetan Burns to Challenge Chinese Rule

2013-03-25
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Buddhist monks gather during the inauguration of a Lord Buddha statue by the Dalai Lama at Buddha Park in Rabong, South Sikkim, India, March 25, 2013.
AFP

A Tibetan man set himself on fire to protest Chinese rule in Gansu province on Monday as thousands of Tibetans attended the funeral of a woman who self-immolated a day earlier.

The fate of Lhamo Kyab, 43, who torched himself on Monday in Tsoe town in Sangchu (Xiahe) county within the Gannan (Kanlho) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, is not immediately known due to communication problems.

"He burned himself for the Tibetan religious and political cause, protesting against the Chinese policy in Tibet," a source told RFA's Tibetan Service, speaking from inside Tibet.

Lhamo Kyab is the 111th Tibetan to self-immolate since the fiery protests began in February 2009, challenging Chinese rule in Tibetan populated areas and calling for the return of Tibet's spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

The desperate protests are raging on despite tighter restrictions imposed by Chinese authorities. Ninety of them have died.

4,000 attend funeral

Lhamo Kyab's self-immolation came a day after a Tibetan mother of four burned herself to death near a monastery in protest against Chinese rule in Sichuan province's Ngaba (in Chinese, Aba) prefecture.

Kalkyi, 30, who left behind a husband and three sons and a daughter, all under 15 years of age, self-immolated near the Jonang monastery in Dzamthang (Rangtang) county and local Tibetans immediately took her body into the monastery before Chinese security forces arrived, sources said.

The Chinese authorities had warned the Tibetans that they would "take the body by force" if they did not cremate it before midnight on Sunday, according to the Tibetan government-in-exile in Dharamsala, where the Dalai Lama lives in exile.

"Over 4,000 Tibetans, including monks of Jonang Monastery, had gathered to express solidarity with the deceased," said the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), the official name of the exile government.

The CTA said it has consistently appealed to Tibetans not to resort to drastic actions, including self-immolations.

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 Yangdon Demo and Chakmo Tso for RFA's Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Parameswaran Ponnudurai.