Authorities in northwestern China’s Gansu province have detained the parents of a Tibetan self-immolation protester after briefly holding and then releasing them once before, a source in the region says.
Soepa and Drolma Tso, the father and mother of 16-year-old student Chagdor Kyab who self-immolated on May 2, had initially been detained and questioned together with their daughter following Kyab’s protest challenging China’s rule in Tibetan areas.
“However, they were released and allowed to return home,” a local source told RFA’s Tibetan Service.
“But the authorities then came back and took both parents away with them,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Kyab's sister was not detained again since she had fallen ill and was confined to her bed when her parents were detained for the second time, the source said.
Owing to strict communications blocks imposed by Chinese authorities in the area, no information was immediately available concerning the date of Kyab’s parents’ second detention or where they are now being held.
Kyab’s May 2 protest near Bora monastery in Gansu’s Gannan (in Chinese, Kanlho) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture brought to 149 the total number of self-immolations by Tibetans living in Tibetan areas of China since the wave of fiery protests began in 2009.
“On the day of Kyab’s self-immolation, his father Soepa took him from Dardo village to the Bora Middle School and then returned home,” RFA’s source said, adding that about 20 minutes later Kyab went to the nearby Bora monastery to pray at its main shrine.
“He then walked around the monastery a few times before setting himself on fire,” the source said.
“While he burned, he called out for Tibetan freedom and the return of [exiled spiritual leader] the Dalai Lama, but police quickly arrived, put out the fire, and took him away,” he said.
Witnesses who saw Kyab’s protest believe that he died at the scene, “but neither his death nor his survival has yet been confirmed,” the source said.
Reported by Lhuboom for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.