Thousands Gather over Nun's Death

Tibetans pay their respects to a nun who set herself on fire last week.
2011-11-06
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Undated photo of Palden Choetso at her nunnery.
Undated photo of Palden Choetso at her nunnery.
Photo courtesy of Central Tibetan Administration

Thousands of Tibetans gathered on Sunday near a monastery in China’s Sichuan province for the cremation of a nun who died last week in the 11th self-immolation incident in Tibetan-populated areas this year.

Palden Choetso, a 35-year-old nun from a nunnery in Tawu (in Chinese, Daofu) county in Kardze (in Chinese, Ganzi) prefecture, set herself on fire while chanting slogans calling for freedom for Tibet.

On Sunday, several thousand Tibetans gathered near the Tawu Nyitso monastery as monks and nuns held prayers inside.

Separately on Friday, a Tibetan exile set himself on fire in front of the Chinese embassy in India’s capital New Delhi in protest against Chinese policies in the region.

Police intervened and put out the fire. The protester, named by fellow activists as Sherab Tsedor, 25, suffered minor burns.

Tsedor had written a statement before the incident calling for worldwide support for Tibetans against the "ongoing repressive measures" imposed by China.

Tibetan regions have seen a crackdown on monasteries and harassment of monks by Chinese authorities.

On the same day as the demonstration in New Delhi, China urged condemnation of the self-immolations.

“Not condemning self-immolations but playing them up and inciting others to follow examples is challenging the common conscience and moral bottom line of humankind,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hong Lei said, according to Agence France-Presse.

He added that the suicide attempts are “related to separatist forces overseas.”

The U.S. State Department urged China to address policies contributing to tensions among Tibetans.

Spokesman Victoria Nuland said Friday, "We have consistently and directly raised with the Chinese government our concerns about Tibetan self-immolations and we have repeatedly urged the Chinese government to address its counter-productive policies in Tibetan areas that have created tensions." 

Tibet’s spiritual leader the Dalai Lama expressed sadness about the self-immolations.

“Speaking as an ordinary Tibetan and a Buddhist monk, these incidents of self-immolation are very very sad,” the Dalai Lama said at a press conference while traveling in Japan on Friday. 

Reported by RFA's Tibetan Service and written in English by Rachel Vandenbrink.

CH. 1: MANDARIN | CANTONESE

CH. 2: VIETNAMESE | BURMESE | KOREAN

CH. 3: KHMER | LAO | UYGHUR

CH. 4: TIBETAN

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