Tibetan Forest Guard Who Self-immolated Dies

The remains of Lhamo Kyab, 43, who burned himself in Tsoe town in Sangchu county, March 25, 2013.
Photo courtesy of an RFA listener.

A Tibetan man who self-immolated in protest against Chinese rule in Gansu province on Monday has died, according to a source inside Tibet.

The fate of Lhamo Kyab, 43, who burned himself in Tsoe town in Sangchu (Xiahe) county within the Gannan (Kanlho) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, was not immediately known due to communication problems.

The source told RFA's Tibetan Service Tuesday that he had died on the spot in the predawn self-immolation.

Unlike most other Tibetan self-immolators, Lhamo Kyab, a bachelor forest guard, jumped into a raging fire he set up using wood and kerosene and was mostly consumed by the flames.

"When the locals reached the site, his body was totally burnt except for his head," the source said.

"Not long after, the Chinese security forces arrived and cordoned off the area. The local Tibetans were stopped from going near the site of the self-immolation," the source said.

111th self-immolator

Lhamo Kyab was the 111th Tibetan to self-immolate since the fiery protests began in February 2009 challenging Chinese rule in Tibetan-populated areas and calling for the return of Tibet's spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

The desperate protests are raging on despite tighter restrictions imposed by Chinese authorities. Ninety of the protesters have died.

Lhamo Kyab's self-immolation came a day after a Tibetan mother of four burned herself to death near a monastery in protest against Chinese rule in Sichuan province's Ngaba (in Chinese, Aba) prefecture.

Kalkyi, 30, who left behind a husband and three sons and a daughter, all under 15 years of age, self-immolated near the Jonang monastery in Dzamthang (Rangtang) county and local Tibetans immediately took her body into the monastery before Chinese security forces arrived, sources said.

Chinese authorities have recently tightened controls in Tibetan-populated areas to check the self-immolation protests, arresting and jailing more than a dozen Tibetans who they accused of being linked to the burnings. Some were jailed up to 15 years.

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


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