Chinese Authorities Amputate Legs of Tibetan Self-Immolator

2014-11-25
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An undated Chinese state television screen grab shows Sungdu Kyab following amputation of his legs
An undated Chinese state television screen grab shows Sungdu Kyab following amputation of his legs
CCTV screengrab

Authorities in northwestern China’s Gansu province have amputated the legs of a Tibetan self-immolation protester against his parents’ wishes, and have returned him to his home where he is being kept under police watch together with his family, according to Tibetan sources.

Sungdu Kyab, believed to be in his late teens, set himself ablaze to protest Chinese rule on Dec. 12, 2012, near Bora monastery in Sangchu (in Chinese, Xiahe) county in the Kanlho (Gannan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, and was taken by police to an area hospital with severe burns, sources said.

Though Kyab’s parents had been told by hospital authorities shortly afterward  that his legs would have to be removed, “they were not allowed to see the actual condition of his legs, and they refused to give their approval,” a local source told RFA’s Tibetan Service.

“He was sent back to his family home on Oct. 23, 2014,” said the source, adding, “Both his legs had been amputated.”

It was not clear, however, whether the burns on his legs were so severe that the procedure was required.

Word of Kyab’s release last month was delayed owing to security restrictions imposed by authorities in Tibetan areas of China, sources said.

Moved from hospital

tibet-Sungdue-nov2014.gif
Sungdu Kyab in an undated photo. Photo courtesy of an RFA listener.

Kyab’s parents had attempted to visit him in the Sangchu county hospital earlier this year to bring him food and bedding, but were told that he had been moved to a detention center and they would not be allowed to meet him.

“They were also warned not to share any information about him with others, and were told they would face ‘consequences’ if they did," RFA's source said.

Finally, on Oct. 23, Kyab’s parents were fully briefed about his condition, and police brought him to his home at about 10:30 p.m. on that same day, the source said.

“Sungdu Kyab and his parents have now been placed under police watch, and because of security restrictions he has not been able until now to get information out to others about his condition,” he said.

Sporadic demonstrations challenging Chinese rule have continued in Tibetan-populated areas of China since widespread protests swept the region in 2008, with 133 Tibetans to date setting themselves ablaze to oppose Beijing’s rule and call for the return of exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

Authorities have responded to the burnings by characterizing them as criminal offenses, punishing and arresting the families and communities of self-immolators, and deploying paramilitary forces and restricting communications and travel in areas where they have occurred.

Reported by Lhuboom for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.

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