Young Tibetan Burns Himself in a Monastery

An undated photo of Jachung Monastery in Bayan Khar county in Qinghai province.
Photo courtesy of Palden Gyal.

A young Tibetan torched himself at a monastery in Qinghai province on Sunday in protest against Beijing's "hard-line" policy in Tibet, triggering a security clampdown, according to sources.

Phagmo Dhondup, in his 20's, set himself alight at the compound of the Jachung monastery in Tsapon township in Tsoshar (in Chinese, Haidong) prefecture’s Bayan Khar (Hualong) county and was immediately taken to a nearby hospital with serious burns, the sources from inside Tibet said.

"At around 8 p.m., he self-immolated in protest against the hard-line Chinese policy in Tibet," a source told RFA's Tibetan Service. "He was immediately rushed to the local hospital and is being treated."

Phagmo Dhondup, who lives in Upper Sakar village close to the Jachung monastery, is the 105th Tibetan so far to self-immolate in protests questioning Chinese rule in Tibetan-populated areas and calling for the return of Tibet's spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.  

"Monks at the monastery are conducting special prayers for his recovery," the RFA source said. "At the same time several hundred security forces have arrived at the monastery and imposed restrictions," the source said.

Beijing has stepped up its crackdown to preempt Tibetan self-immolation protests but to no avail.

Chinese courts have jailed a number of Tibetans, including monks, over their suspected roles in the burnings in the last few weeks. Some have been given jail terms of up to 13 years.  

Human rights groups have criticized Chinese authorities for criminalizing the burning protests and cracking down on Tibetans deemed to have provided encouragement or support.

Chinese authorities have also deployed paramilitary forces and restricted communications and travel in the areas where self-immolations have occurred.


Many of the recent self-immolators are young Tibetans appalled by the human rights abuses and excessive controls imposed by the Chinese authorities, rights groups say.

Twenty-two of the Tibetans who have self-immolated so far have been 18-years old or younger, according to figures compiled by the International Campaign for Tibet advocacy group. More than 80 of the 105 self-immolators so far have died in the burnings.

The self-immolations by the new generation of Tibetans born under Chinese rule “are sending an unequivocal message to the world about the gravity of the situation in Tibet,” said Dicki Chhoyang, Minister of Information and International Relations in the Dharamsala-based Tibetan exile government, the Central Tibetan Administration.

She told a meeting in Geneva last week ahead of the 2013 U.N. Human Rights Council session that China must be held accountable to the pledges it made to the world body to improve its human rights record.

Beijing has defended its rule of Tibet and says the Dalai Lama and other Tibetan leaders in exile have orchestrated the self-immolations from their base in India.

But Tibetan exile leaders deny involvement in the burnings and have called on Tibetans in Tibetan-populated regions of China to exercise restraint.

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


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