Tuesday 7 August 2012

Reports of self-immolation in Tibet

Phayul[Monday, August 06, 2012 20:28]
There are reports of yet another self-immolation protest in Tibet as the fiery wave continues to burn across the Tibetan plateau.

Various sources in exile are confirming today’s self-immolation protest by a Tibetan in the beleaguered Ngaba region of eastern Tibet.

As of now, there are no details available on the identity of the self-immolator.

Talking to Phayul, Kanyag Tsering, a researcher at the exile base of Kirti Monastery in Dharamshala confirmed the reports.

“Yes, there was another self-immolation protest in Ngaba today but as of now we have very little details,” Tsering said.

Another monk in south India who has close contacts in the region, while confirming today’s self-immolation protest, said that all communication lines in the region have stopped working.

“According to the information that I have received, a Tibetan woman set herself on fire today in Ngaba,” Ghangri told Phayul. “But as of now it is impossible to get in touch with people in the region as all communication lines are not working.”

London based rights group, Free Tibet, also reported on today’s self-immolation protest but noted that the self-immolator was male.

“A man set fire to himself in Ngaba Town, Eastern Tibet at 5:30pm local time today,” Free Tibet said in a release. “According to an eyewitness, Chinese state security personnel quickly extinguished the flames at the scene on the main road in Ngaba. Locals now refer to this street as Martyr’s Street because of the number of self-immolations that have been carried out here.”

“The man who set fire to himself today was reported to be still alive, his upper body badly injured, when security personnel drove him away in a vehicle.”

With today’s self-immolation protest, 46 Tibetans have now set themselves on fire, since 2009, demanding freedom in Tibet and the return of the Dalai Lama from exile.

The United States last month blamed the Chinese government for the self-immolations in Tibet in an annual report on religious freedom.

“Official interference in the practice of these religious traditions exacerbated grievances and contributed to at least 12 self-immolations by Tibetans in 2011," the US State Department said in its annual International Religious Freedom Report.

The elected head of the Tibetan people, Kalon Tripa Dr Lobsang Sangay has called the self-immolations “political action” and blamed China’s failed policies in Tibet - founded on “political oppression, social marginalisation, cultural assimilation and environmental destruction” - as root causes of the protests.

“To understand these acts, it is crucial to know that within China, there is no room for freedom of speech and conventional forms of protest. A participant in a simple demonstration runs a high risk of arrest, torture and even death,” Dr Sangay had said.

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