A Tibetan man burned himself to death in western China’s Sichuan province on Wednesday in the second self-immolation protest this month against Beijing’s rule in Tibetan areas, sources said.
Nei Kyab, believed to be in his mid-40s, set himself ablaze on April 15 in the courtyard of his home in Soruma village, Choejema town, in Ngaba (in Chinese, Aba) county in the Ngaba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, a local source told RFA’s Tibetan Service.
“He was protesting against Chinese policies in Tibet,” RFA’s source said, adding, “His body was taken away by police.”
Before staging his fiery protest, Kyab had set out offerings on an altar with photos of exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama, Tibetan Buddhism’s second-highest ranking spiritual leader.
“He had also sent a photo of himself holding a flower to a friend a few days before his protest,” the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The present Panchen Lama was recognized as a young boy by the Dalai Lama but was detained, together with his family, by Chinese authorities and vanished into China.
A second Panchen candidate, selected by Beijing and enthroned in 1995, is unpopular in Tibet and lives outside the region.
Father of seven
Kyab, whose wife died last year, is survived by seven children, RFA’s source said.
“He had received [religious] recognition for his vow not to harm others in personal disputes—a vow that he took in honor of all those who have sacrificed themselves in self-immolation protests for the cause of Tibetan freedom” the source said.
A brother-in-law, Dargye, was one of two men who self-immolated in a similar protest in Tibet’s regional capital Lhasa in May 2012, he said.
Separately, a Tibetan living in exile confirmed Kyab’s protest and death, citing local sources.
“On April 15, a Tibetan named Nei Kyab, also called Damkar, an ex-monk of the Adue Yak monastery, burned himself to death in Ngaba,” the source, Ngaba Choephel, told RFA.
Kyab’s self-immolation was the 139th in Tibetan areas of China since the wave of fiery protests began in February 2009, and the second to take place this month.
On April 8, a 47-year-old Tibetan woman, Yeshi Khando, set herself ablaze and died in Sichuan’s Kardze (Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture after calling out for freedom and the Dalai Lama’s long life, sources said in an earlier report.
Reported by Lhuboom for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.
Updated to reflect new information that the man was in his mid-40s, not 50s.