Another self-immolation rocks Tibet, Toll reaches 80

DHARAMSHALA (Phayul): In confirmed reports coming out of Tibet, another Tibetan set himself on fire late last night in an apparent protest against China’s continued occupation of Tibet.

The Tibetan man, the 80th to self-immolate inside Tibet since 2009, has been identified as Tamding Kyab.

“Tamding Kyab, 23 years of age, set himself on fire on November 22 at around 10 pm (local time) in the Kluchu region of Kanlho, eastern Tibet,” exile Tibetans hailing from the region told Phayul. “After local Tibetans recovered Tamding Kyab’s charred body this morning, they carried it to his home.”

Monks from the nearby Shitsang Monastery have been performing prayers at the deceased’s home and also carried out the last rites today. A nomad, Tamding Kyab was earlier a monk at the Shitsang Monastery, where currently his younger brother is studying.

Tamding Kyab frequently spoke out the ongoing self-immolation protests and expressed his desire for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

“Whenever he heard of a self-immolation protest, he used to say, “How I wish I could also sacrifice my life” and often stated that without the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet, there is “no difference between living and dying” in this world,” the same sources said citing contacts in the regions.

The same day, Lubum Gyal, 18, passed away after setting himself ablaze in Dowa town of Rebkong, eastern Tibet following heightened restrictions and the implementation of a five-point notification issued by Chinese authorities giving stern orders “to punish self-immolators and their families; even those who had offered condolences and prayers to the bereaved family members and relatives.”

The alarming escalation in self-immolation protests has already witnessed 18 Tibetans set themselves on fire in the month of November alone, making this the deadliest month since the protests began. Thousands of Tibetans, including school students, have carried out mass protests and rallies demanding freedom and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile.

Earlier this month, local Chinese authorities in Kanlho (Ch:Gannan) imposed a “near-total information blockade” in the region following seven self-immolations in the past month.

Local authorities clamped down on the Internet and mobile phone lines, imposing an indefinite ban on the sale of mobile SIM cards on three known shops in Sangchu, while restricting the sale of petrol and other flammable liquids in towns and villages in the area.

Also in the region, local Chinese authorities posted notices last month, offering 50,000 Chinese Yuan (US $ 7,913) for information on “the sources of scheming, planning, and instigating” self-immolations.

The exile Tibetan administration has maintained that the reasons for the self-immolations are self-evident: political repression, economic marginalisation, environmental destruction, and cultural assimilation.

“The blame and solution for the present tragedy in Tibet lies entirely with Beijing,” Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay, the elected head of the Tibetan people, said earlier this month. “We firmly believe that an end to repression will effectively end the cycle self-immolation.”

Your Responses