Police Take Burning Tibetan Away

The 91st Tibetan self-immolation takes place in Gansu province.

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Tibetan Buddhist monks and members of the Tibetan Youth Congress in India's Siliguri city hold lit candles during a protest against Chinese rule in Tibet, Nov. 28, 2012.

UPDATED at 3:20 p.m. EST on 2012-12-3

A Tibetan teenager set himself ablaze Sunday in protest against Chinese rule in a Tibetan populated county in Gansu province but police doused the flames, took him away, and beefed up security in the area, sources said.

Sungdu Kyap, in his late teens, set himself on fire in Bora town in Sangchu (in Chinese, Xiahe) county, drawing more than 200 Chinese police as part of heightened security measures, according to the sources, speaking from inside Tibet.

"While he was on fire, the Chinese police intervened and he was taken away to Kanlho hospital where he was given two-hour emergency treatment," one source told RFA's Tibetan service.

"Then he was brought back to Bora but the details of his current condition are not available," the source said.

The latest burning brings to 91 the number of Tibetan self-immolations so far.

Most of the self-immolation protests since February 2009 have been aimed at highlighting opposition to Chinese rule and seeking the return of the Dalai Lama, who fled Tibet after a failed national revolt against Chinese occupation in 1959.

The Central Tibetan Administration, as the Tibetan government-in-exile in India is called, said the self-immolations underscore "political repression, economic marginalization, environmental destruction, and cultural assimilation" in Tibet.

Chinese authorities have beefed up security and clamped down on the Internet and other communications in the areas where self-immolations have occurred, sources said.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner.

US official meets Tibetans

On Friday, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for democracy and human rights, met with relatives of three families of Tibetan self-immolators, the State Department said, in what was seen as a rebuff to China's policies in Tibet.

"He expressed our deepest condolences and our grave concern for the spiraling violence and harsh crackdown in Tibetan areas as well as grief with regard to the self-immolations," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.

She said the United States was "very concerned about rising tensions" that have resulted from "counterproductive policies, including those that limit freedom of religion, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and association in Tibet."

Washington was also "disturbed" by reports of violence between Chinese police and Tibetan student protestors, in which 20 students were injured last week, Nuland said.

Last Monday, about 1,000 students, led by those from the Tsolho Medical Institute, had protested in Qinghai province's Chabcha (Gonghe) county over the release of an official Chinese booklet which ridiculed the Tibetan language as irrelevant and condemned the series of self-immolation protests against Beijing's rule as acts of "stupidity."

At least 20 students, five of them with serious injuries, had been admitted to hospital after beatings by armed Chinese police, Tibetan sources said.

Nuland said Washington would continue to raise the Tibet issue "publicly and privately" with Beijing, calling on the Chinese government at all levels "to address policies in Tibetan areas that have created tensions and that threaten the distinct religious, cultural, and linguistic identity of the Tibetan people."

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

CORRECTION: An earlier version had the self-immolator's name spelt as Sangdag Kyap.


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