Monk dies after self-immolation; protests suppressed
[17 March 2011] On 16 March, a young monk from Kirti monastery in the Ngaba area of Tibet died after setting himself on fire. Protests followuing the self-immolation, were quelled by Chinese security forces and resulted in the beating and detention of an unknown number of Tibetans.
[UPDATE: 12 April - Chinese authorities impose lockdown Kirti monastery. Click here ro read]
According to reports, Phuntsok (pictured right), a 21-year old monk from Miruma village in Ngaba County, Amdo (Sichuan province), immolated himself in the busy market of Ngaba to mark the third anniversary of the crackdown on Tibetan protestors at Kirti monastery in 2008 which resulted in 10 deaths. Those present heard Phuntsok chant "Long live the Dalai Lama".
Chinese police arrived at the scene, extinguished the fire and began beating Phuntsok, according to a source. When the police tried to take Phunsok away Tibetans protected him and a number of monks took him back to the monastery. Phuntsok later succumbed to his burns.
Following the incident, hundreds of Tibetans gathered at the market to protest against the Chinese government. Security forces were brought in to disperse the crowds. Reports indicate many Tibetans were beaten and detained. Kirti monastery is now understood to be surrounded by armed troops.
Philippa Carrick, CEO of Tibet Society, said, "This tragic act by a young Tibetan monk illustrates the depth and strength of belief that Tibetans hold to their core, namely Tibet belongs to Tibetans. Sadly Phuntsok died for his belief, but such acts of resistance will continue until there is justice for the Tibetan people living in Tibet. David Cameron is speaking out for the people of the Middle East; we urge him to not forget the people of Tibet, to speak out and act for Tibetans who have lived under an occupation by China for over 60 years."
Tibet Society will be informing officials at the Foreign Office about this incident and asking them to enquire about the safety and welfare of the Kirti monks and the detained protestors.
Another monk, Tapey, set himself on fire in February 2009 in protest against the Chinese authorities. Police shot at Tapey, who survived the incident, and took him into custody. Tapey's condition and whereabouts remain unknown.
ICT: Update: Chinese authorities confirm death; military crackdown (17 March)
New York Times: Tibetan Monk Dies After Self-Immolation (17 March)
BBC: Tibetan monk's self-immolation 'sparks protests' (17 March)
TCHRD: Monk dies after self-immolation (17 March)
Phayul: Ngaba monk immolates self to mark 3 years since crackdown (16 March)
ICT: Monk immolates himself; protests at monastery suppressed (16 March)
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