Clampdown in Wake of Burning

The latest Tibetan to self-immolate in a challenge to Chinese rule has been identified.

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Map showing Dzatoe county.

Chinese forces have tightened security in a Tibetan-populated county of Qinghai province following the self-immolation Saturday of a Tibetan man protesting rule by Beijing, according to Tibetan sources.

Yungdrung, 27, set himself ablaze on Saturday on a shop-lined street in Dzatoe (in Chinese, Zaduo) county in the restive Yulshul (in Chinese, Yushu) prefecture.  

Wearing traditional Tibetan dress, he shouted slogans calling for Tibetan independence and for the return to Tibet of exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama before Chinese police took him away, witnesses said.

Details concerning his present condition and whereabouts are unknown, but witnesses described him as severely burned.

“Authorities have now imposed fresh restrictions on the movements of Tibetan residents in Dzatoe, and the area of the town including the street crossing and its immediate vicinity are filled with Chinese security personnel,” Tenpa Yarphel, a member of Tibet’s India-based exile parliament, said on Sunday.

Yungdrung was originally a resident of the Karma subdistrict of Chamdo prefecture in the Tibet Autonomous Region, but later moved to Dzatoe, Yarphel said.

“When he was rushed to a hospital by the Chinese police, he could only utter the words ‘Tibet, Tibet …,’” Yarphel said, citing witnesses.

Survival doubted

Though Chinese authorities said on Sept. 30 that Yungdrung had been taken out of the county for medical treatment, witnesses believe that he may have died on the way, Yarphel added.

In separate reports, both the online Tibet Express and the website of Tibet’s India-based exile government, the Central Tibetan Administration, confirmed Yungdrung’s identity and age.

Yungdrung’s self-immolation, the 52nd in the wave of fiery protests since February 2009, came a day after more than 400 Tibetan exiles from 26 countries meeting in India called for an end to self-immolations by Tibetans challenging Chinese rule.

The meeting held in the hill-town of Dharamsala expressed “grave concern” over the burnings and urged Tibetans living under Chinese rule not to take “drastic actions.”

“Tibet is a thinly populated country, and in the present situation losing even one life is a great loss for the Tibetan people,” said one of 31 recommendations and resolutions adopted by the delegates to the four-day gathering, the largest meeting of its kind in four years.

“Please preserve your lives in the future,” it said.

Similar expressions of concern from exile figures and from the Dalai Lama himself over the burnings have gone largely unheeded in the past.

Reported by RFA’s Tibetan service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.


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