Monday 5 March 2012

Third self-immolation in three days

Phayul[Monday, March 05, 2012 23:27]
DHARAMSHALA, March 5: In alarming news coming out of Tibet, another Tibetan died today after setting himself on fire protesting China’s occupation of Tibet.

This is the third self-immolation in as many days.

Dorjee, 18, a native of Cha Shang in the beleaguered Ngaba region of eastern Tibet set himself on fire at around 6.30 pm local time today.

The exile base of Kirti monastery in Dharamshala, in a release said that Dorjee carried out a march from a bridge to a Chinese office in the region.

“Dorjee was engulfed in fire as he raised slogans protesting the Chinese government’s policies in Tibet while marching towards the office building,” the release said.

Dorjee later died at the scene of his protest.

Cha Shang is located around 70 kms east to the main Ngaba town, the centre of the ongoing wave of self-immolations in Tibet.

“Local Tibetans tried to gain possession of Dorjee’s charred body but Chinese security personnel forcibly took it to Ngaba town,” the release added.

In the past two days, two women – Tsering Kyi, a 19-year school students and Rinchen, a 32-year old mother of four – torched their bodies protesting China’s continued occupation of Tibet.

Since 2009, now 26 Tibetans have set themselves on fire demanding the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and freedom in Tibet.

The three self-immolations come days ahead of the 53rd anniversary of the March 10 Tibetan National Uprising Day and the one year commemoration of the March 16 self-immolation of Kirti monk Phuntsog.

Many parts of Tibet remain under an undeclared martial law following the fiery wave self-immolations and a series of mass protests that have been brutally suppressed.

China has poured money into Tibetan-inhabited areas, seeking to win them over by boosting the economy.

But it has also flooded the same areas with police, increased surveillance at monasteries and partially blocked the Internet and mobile phones.

Foreign journalists caught trying to reach the scene of much of the unrest - in the west of Sichuan province - have been turned back or detained.
March is a month of sensitive Tibetan anniversaries including that of the Dalai Lama's flight into exile in 1959.

BBC Asia-Pacific analyst Viv Marsh says Chinese authorities will be keen to avoid protests during a parliamentary meeting in Beijing this week ahead of a big leadership transition later this year.

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