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Photos emerge of two monks who self-immolated PDF Print E-mail
[16 December 2011] Photographs of Kayang and Choephel, who died after self-immolating in Ngaba on 7 October, have been received by the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy. They are the first images to be seen outside of Tibet of the two former Kirti monks.

The undated images were probably taken when both were in their early teens. At the time of their protest Kayang (top right) was aged 18 and Choephel (bottom right) aged 19.

On 8 October, the day after their joint protest, China's official news agency Xinhua reported that both young men were in stable condition and their injuries not life-threatening. The same day Kayang died and on 11 October Choepel succumbed to his injuries.

Further reading: TCHRD
I TAKE ACTION I Background & cases

Two teenagers die after joint self-immolation

Kayang[12 October 2011] Two teenaged Tibetans Kayang (right) and Choepel (below) self-immolated on Ngaba towns main street on 7 October at around 11.30am. Both died within days of the incident.

Kayang, 18, and Choepel, 19, both ex-Kirti monks, self-immolated in protest against Chinese occupation of Tibet. ICT have reported that Kayangs cousin, Tashi, was among those killed by Chinese forces in the March 2008 crackdown in Ngaba.

Kayang and Choepel are said to have joined their hands together in prayer and called for Tibetans to unite and rise up against repression and for the return of the Dalai Lama. Security personnel are believed to have beaten the young men whilst extinguishing the flames. They were taken to the county hospital where their wellbeing remained unknown for several days.

ChoephelIt is now believed that Kayang died the day after self-immolating, on 8 October at around 1pm. According to Phayul he told hospital staff that he had no regrets and felt gratified, his last words were Please dont feel sad for me. Phayul have reported that his body was not released to his family and that he was cremated by security forces. An explicit ban was made on expressing condolences to Kayangs family and his house was watched to ensure no-one paid their respects.

Significantly, on the day of Kayangs death the Chinese states news agency, Xinhua, reported that both teenagers were not in life-threatening conditions.

Meanwhile, Choepel died on 11 October. Phayul report that, prior to his self-immolation, Choepel had told colleagues that the current atmosphere of repression was unbearable. The situation in Ngaba has been serious for several years since a severe crackdown following the March 2008 protests. In turn, this crackdown has led to a high number of protests and, ultimately, loss of life.

Further reading: ICT I Phayul (1) I Phayul (2)

Monk self-immolates whilst holding photo of Dalai Lama

Kelsang Wangchuk[4 October 2011] A 17 year-old monk from Kirti monastery in Sichuan province, self-immolated on 3 October at around 2pm local time. Kelsang Wangchuk (pictured right) is the third monk from Kirti monastery to self-immolate within a week. Wangchuk was hospitalised though his current condition and whereabouts are unknown.

The protest took place along Ngaba towns main street, near to the towns vegetable market. Wangchuk shouted slogans and brandished a picture of the Dalai Lama. He was quickly surrounded by Chinese police and fire-fighters who extinguished the flames before beating him. It is believed that witnesses to the incident began protesting against this cruel treatment but were dispersed by armed security.

Wangchuk suffered extensive burns to his upper body and was taken by security personnel to hospital. Phayul reported a source saying that Kesang [sic] Wangchuk, despite his injuries is facing incessant interrogation sessions and is being subjected to indiscriminate beatings.

A few days before Kelsang Wangchuks protest leaflets were circulated in the area claiming that if the crackdown in the area continued more people would sacrifice their lives.

Ngaba has been under tight military control for several months following a series of self-immolations. On 26 September two monks, Lobsang Kelsang and Lobsang Kunchok, self-immolated and were taken into custody. Before setting fire to themselves they had called for religious freedom and shouted Long live the Dalai Lama whilst waving a Tibetan flag.

The situation in Ngaba is very tense and strict control is being exercised in the area. There are large numbers of security personnel present, curfews are in place and no one is allowed to enter or exit the area.

Further reading: Phayul I ICT I RFA

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