April 18, 2017

Tibet: New Case of Self-Immolation in Protest of Chinese Occupation

Photo courtesy of Radio Free Asia

In Kardze Town Square, a 30-years-old Tibetan named Wangchuk Tseten attempted to self-immolate this past Saturday morning [15 April 2017]. The act was partially caught on film; a uniformed officer can be seen extinguishing a burning body surrounded by smoke. This protest brings the count of post-2009 instances of self-immolation to 148 within Tibet, 125 of which were fatal. Though some were associated with religious institutions, self-immolators have hailed from a variety of professions in Tibet. The upsurge in self-immolation in 2012 saw protests from Tibetans as young as 15 years old showing active resistance to the Chinese occupation.

 

The article below was published by Free Tibet:

An update to this article was published by Central Tibetan Administration

A monk has carried out of self-immolation protest in Kardze County, eastern Tibet. The monk, whose name is unknown at present, set himself on fire on a busy street on Saturday 15 April.

Shortly after setting himself on fire, Chinese police and security forces arrived at the scene, extinguished the flames and took him away. The internet in the surrounding area has been heavily restricted and surveillance stepped up.

A video, taken secretly and acquired by Free Tibet, shows police extinguishing the fire on the body.

The current whereabouts of the monk, and whether or not he survived his protest, are not known at present. A local who witnessed the protest said:

"I was near by the scene. I saw the self-immolator was badly burned. He was unrecognisable."

Free Tibet’s research partner, Tibet Watch, is working to confirm further details of this case.

This is the second self-immolation in Tibet in 2017. In March, Pema Gyaltsen, a 24-year-old Tibetan farmer, set himself on fire outside Tsokha Monastery, also in Kardze. His condition and whereabouts remain unknown.

Over 140 Tibetans have carried out self-immolation protests in Tibet since 2009. Many of these protests have been fatal.

Self-immolation protests are almost always carried out in response to the Chinese military occupation of Tibet, which has been in force since 1950, as well as human rights abuses and restrictions on Tibet’s religion and culture carried out under Chinese rule.

Despite China's harsh military occupation Tibetans continue to resist and protest. Within Tibet, rightfully termed an 'open air prison,' Tibetans are punished with harassment, arrest and lengthy prison terms. Take action for Tibet’s political prisoners - write to the Chinese authorities and demand their freedom.

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