Updated at 4:50 p.m. EST on 2012-10-05
A Tibetan man set himself ablaze and died Thursday in a central Tibetan county in the second self-immolation protest challenging Chinese rule in the past week, according to Tibetan sources.
Gudrub, 41, shouted slogans calling for Tibetan freedom and for the return to Tibet of exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama as he self-immolated in Driru [in Chinese, Biru] county in the Nagchu prefecture of the Tibet Autonomous Region, a source told RFA’s Tibetan service, speaking on condition of anonymity.
He left a written statement calling on the Tibetan people to “foster unity and solidarity” and not “lose courage” in the struggle for Tibetan freedom, according to a former classmate now living in Australia.
So far, 53 Tibetans have torched themselves to protest Chinese rule since the wave of fiery protests began in February 2009, with most occurring in Tibetan-populated areas of the Chinese provinces of Sichuan, Qinghai, and Gansu.
Thursday's burning is the fifth to be reported in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), with other self-immolations in the TAR taking place in the regional capital Lhasa, in Chamdo county's Karma township, and in the town of Damshung, just outside Lhasa.
The latest burning comes after another protester set himself on fire in Qinghai’s Dzatoe county on Saturday, defying calls by a mass gathering of Tibetan exiles in India that had urged an end to the fiery protests, calling the death of even one Tibetan “a great loss” for the Tibetan people.
Gudrub’s self-immolation was confirmed by separate phone calls from Tibet. Sources said he died shortly after he was taken away by Chinese police.
“[The protest] occurred at a marketplace in Kham Driru at around 10:30 a.m.,” one caller said, also speaking on condition of anonymity.
“He was shouting slogans while he burned, and he collapsed in less than a minute. The Chinese police took him away, but he may already have died,” the caller said.
'Unity and courage'