Former Tibetan Monk Self-Immolates Near Restive Kirti Monastery

Chinese security forces deployed at Lobsang Dorje's self-immolation site, Feb. 13, 2014.
Photo courtesy of Central Tibetan Administration.

A former Tibetan monk has burned himself in protest against Chinese rule near the restive Kirti monastery in Sichuan province in the second Tibetan self-immolation protest this year, an exiled monk with contacts in the region said Friday.

Chinese security forces bundled Lobsang Dorje, 25, away in a small car after he self-immolated near the monastery in the Ngaba (in Chinese, Aba) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture on Thursday evening, said Kanyag Tsering, a Tibetan monk at the Kirti exile monastery in India's Dharamsala hill town, where the Dalai Lama lives.

"Engulfed in flames, Dorje shouted slogans against Chinese policy in Tibet," Tsering told RFA's Tibetan Service.

"Many Chinese security forces rushed to the scene and put out the flames and forced Dorje into a small car, covering him with a black blanket," Tsering said.

"At the time, he was seen forcing up his head and clasping his hand but the police pressed him down and drove him away," he said.

Condition unclear

Dorje self-immolates in Ngaba, Feb. 13, 2014.
Dorje self-immolates in Ngaba, Feb. 13, 2014.
Photo courtesy of Central Tibetan Administration.

Dorje's condition and whereabouts were not immediately clear amid heightened security in Ngaba county.

"He was alive at the time when he was forced into the car but I cannot say what condition he might be in now," Tsering said.

He also said that the self-immolation of Dorje, who was a monk at a young age in Kirti monastery but had been disrobed since, coincided with the holding of the Kirti monastery "Cham dance," a sacred ritual.

Ngaba has been among the key venues of Tibetan self-immolation protests. The main road in Ngaba county was renamed in 2012 by Tibetans as "Heroes Street" after it became a regular venue for the burnings.

Dorje's burning was the 127th since the self-immolation protests began in 2009 challenging Chinese rule in Tibetan areas and calling for the return from exile of Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

First self-immolation death in 2014

Meanwhile, sources confirmed Thursday that the first Tibetan self-immolation protester this year has died.

Phagmo Samdrub, 29, who self-immolated on Feb. 5 in Dokarmo township in Tsekhog (in Chinese, Zeku) county in Qinghai province's Malho (Huangnan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture died probably on the same day and his remains were cremated by the Chinese authorities, the sources told RFA.

“Chinese security forces took his body on Feb. 6 to Ziling [in Chinese, Xining] prefecture, and the next day his remains were cremated and his ashes thrown in the Machu River [Yellow River]," a source said.

“The Chinese officials forced the family to throw the ashes into the Machu River," the source said. "Besides, the deceased had a ring, which the authorities didn’t allow the family to take, and forced them to throw it in the river too.”

Reported by RFA's Tibetan Service. Translated by Dorjee Damdul. Written in English by Parameswaran Ponnudurai.


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