Saturday 19 March 2011

Hundreds protest as police brutalised self-immolated monk

(, Mar19, 2011)  On the third anniversary of the protests which swept much of the Tibetan Plateau in Mar’08, hundreds of Tibetans staged a protest in Ngaba (Chinese: Aba) county of Sichuan Province on Mar 16, according to exile Tibetan media and groups Mar 16. Chinese security forces used brutal force, bringing in reinforcement from neighbouring areas, to break up the protest. They were reported to have used metal rods, electric batons, and other instruments of violence, injuring and arresting many Tibetans.

The protest was reported to have been provoked after Chinese police doused out the flames and kept beating severely a 21-year-old monk of the local Kirti Monastery who had staged a lone protest and then set himself up in flames. Local Tibetans were reported to have rushed to the scene in an attempt to protect the monk, who was named as Phuntsog, and to prevent the Chinese from taking him away in a police van. A large crowd of Tibetans soon formed and they took the monk to his monastery.

Taken to a hospital later on, the authorities were reported to have demanded police clearance for treatment. But the monk was reported to have succumbed to his injuries from the burning and police beating about 10 hours after the self-immolation incident. 

The incident was reported to have taken place around 4pm and some 1,000 angry Tibetans then gathered in the county market and staged a protest march against the Chinese government. The march had continued for about a mile, with the Tibetans shouting slogans against the Chinese government, when paramilitary People’s Armed Police Force (PAPF) troops arrived from neighbouring areas to help break up the peaceful rally with brutal force. 

Immediate reports say hundreds of Tibetans, including monks, had been arrested and many were injured. The monastery was said to be surrounded by Chinese troops, phone and internet lines to the area disconnected and the Ngaba county cut off.

Some 1,500 monks of Kiri Monastery were said to have prepared to stage a protest march to demand the release of the detained monks, but were dissuaded by a crowd of some 300 laypeople who had collected at the monastery. 

It was on Mar 16, 2008 that the PAPF used live ammunition to break up a large peaceful Tibetan protest in the area led by monks of Kirti Monastery, resulting in at least 10 people being killed on the spot and many others severely injured.

This was the second self-immolation by a Kirti monk after the Mar’08 protests.  On Feb 27, 2009, Tapey, a monk in his mid-twenties, set himself on fire. Chinese police were reported to have opened fire on him as he remained engulfed in flames. The monk survived after hospitalization but his whereabouts remain unknown.

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