Authorities in Tibet have detained the parents and siblings of the Tibetan monk who died last week after setting himself ablaze in the town of Kyegudo in northwestern China’s Qinghai province to protest Chinese rule, according to a former resident of the region.
Sonam, a Tibetan who now lives in Switzerland but maintains contact with people in the region, said that another source confirmed the death, but indicated that Sonam Topgyal died on July 10 at a hospital in Xining, the provincial capital, where Chinese police quickly drove him after he had set himself on fire.
When Topgyal’s family went to retrieve his body, however, Chinese authorities refused to hand it over and detained his parents and five of his siblings, Sonam said.
Nangchen Tashi, the deceased man’s father, is a local businessman disliked by Chinese authorities because of his support for Tibetan language and culture, sources told RFA last week.
After the self-immolation on the evening of July 9 in the central square of Kyegudo in the Yulshul (in Chinese, Yushu) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, authorities immediately put in place a security clampdown and disrupted communications in the area.
Since then, the Chinese have increased security in Kyegudo and are requiring anyone who needs gasoline for their cars to obtain a permit from the respective local government department, Sonam said.
Gas stations are not allowed to sell fuel to those who do not have a permit, he said.
Reported by Sonam Wangdue for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Dorjee Damdul. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.