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Two further self-immolations in Tibet PDF Print E-mail
[23 March 2012] Two more Tibetans have self-immolated in the past week in protest against China's rule in Tibet. Lobsang Tsultrim and Sonam Thargyal are both reported to have died. Seventeen Tibetans have set fire to themselves in 2012 and 30 overall. Twenty-two of the 30 are known to have died. Two other Tibetans have been detained following attempts to self-immolate.

On 16 March, Lobsang Tsultrim set fire to himself near the county office in Ngaba, Sichuan province. The 20 year-old Kirti monk shouted slogans against China's rule during his protest and ran down the street as Chinese police attempted to extinguish the flames. Once caught, Lobsang was knocked to the ground and beaten, according to an eyewitness. As he was put into a truck he could be seen still pumping his fists in the air.

Lobsang died three days later in a hospital in Barkham. His family were denied to hold traditional rituals with the body and were handed his ashes after a cremation was conducted by the local authorities. Following Lobsang's death Tibetan shops and restaurants in Ngaba were closed for three days in a show of solidarity.

Lobsang is the 13th monk from Kirti monastery to have self-immolated and was a relative of Norbu Damdrul, the former Kirti monk who died after self-immolating on 15 October 2011.

On 17 March, Sonam Dhargye (or Thargyal) died shortly after setting himself on fire on a main road in Tongpo town, Rebkong (Chinese: Tongren) county in Qinghai province. Sonam, a 43 year-old farmer and father of three, died almost immediately as he had drunk kerosene and poured it over his body which was wrapped in cotton and wire.

Whilst on fire Sonam called for the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet, for Tibetan language rights and for an end to Chinese rule. His body was taken to Rongpo monastery, where several thousand people attended his funeral. Chinese security forces were also present at the funeral but did not intervene.

Since 10 March two Tibetans have been detained by the Chinese authorities for attempting self-immolation protests.

During the week following the 10 March anniversary, Thinley, a 17 year-old student in Serthar (Ch: Seda) county, Sichuan province, fainted after drinking kerosene. He was taken away by police. His current condition and whereabouts are unknown.

On 21 March, Tsekhog attempted to self-immolate in Luchu (Ch: Luqu) county in Gansu province. He was taken away by security forces before he could set himself alight after pouring kerosene over his body. It is believed local authorities in Gansu have offered rewards for information about potential self-immolations.


Further reading:
Lobsang Tsultrim - ICT I RFA (16 Mar) I RFA (20 Mar)
Sonam Dhargye - RFA
Attempted self-immolations - RFA I Phayul

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