Tibetan Filmed in Self-Immolation in Kardze Town Square Was Man in His 30s

2017-04-15
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Screenshot of a brief video showing a man in police uniform spraying a fire extinguisher on a smoking body at the twon square in Kardze (Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, April 15, 2017.
Screenshot of a brief video showing a man in police uniform spraying a fire extinguisher on a smoking body at the twon square in Kardze (Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, April 15, 2017.
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UPDATED at 2:20 P.M. EDT on 2017-04-17

A Tibetan man in his 30s committed self immolation Saturday morning in Kardze (Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, according to exiled Tibetans familiar with the region and a video circulating on social media.

The brief video shows a man in police uniform spraying a fire extinguisher on a smoking body lying on the ground while other policemen are running towards the scene and blocking shouting onlookers from approaching the body.

Exiled Tibetan sources with contacts in the region said the self-immolator was Wangchuk Tseten of Ahse village of Shido town in Nyagrong (in Chinese, Xinlong) county in Kardze. Further details about him, including his fate and whereabouts, were not immediately available.

Tibetan sources said the incident took place at about 7.00 a.m local time at the main square in Kardze town, where large crowds are known to gather. Chinese police swiftly took the burned man away, the sources told RFA's Tibetan Service.

Security measures in Kardze require three different kinds of IDs issued from three different government offices, the exiled sources said. Attempts by RFA to reach sources in Kardze, as well as exiles who maintain contacts in the region, were unsuccessful. One source said it was possible that the internet may have been blocked in Kardze after the incident.

Saturday's protest brought to 148 the number of self-immolations by Tibetans living in China since the wave of fiery protests began in 2009. Of these 125 are known to have died.

The previous protest was on March 18, when a 24-year-old Tibetan farmer named Pema Gyaltsen, also from Nyagrong, set himself on fire in Kardze. His fate remains unclear.

Most protests feature demands for Tibetan freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama from India, where he has lived since escaping Tibet during a failed national uprising in 1959.

Reported by Sangay Dorjee and Kalden Lodoe for RFA's Tibetan Service..  Translated by Benpa Topgyal. Written in English by Paul Eckert.

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