Tibetan mother self-immolates; arrests in Lhasa
[31 May 2012] A Tibetan mother of three died after setting fire to herself on 30 May in another protest against China's brutal regime. The incident occured in Dzamthang in eastern Tibet. Meanwhile, in Lhasa, hundreds of Tibetans have been detained following the self-immolations on 27 May.
Rikyo (pictured right), a 33 year-old nomad and mother of three, set fire to herself at about 3pm on 30 May near Jonang monastery in Dzamthang (Chinese: Rangtang) county, Ngaba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan province. Rikyo died at the scene and her body was taken to the local monastery.
Rikyo was from Tsangde village in Dzamthang county. She is survived by her husband and three children, a nine year-old son and two daughters aged seven and five.
This is the sixth self-immolation by a Tibetan woman since February 2009 and the 38th overall. There have been 25 self-immolations in 2012. In Dazamthang alone, there have been four self-immolations, all of which have taken place this year. In February, 18 year-old Nangdrol died after self-immolating in front of Jonang monastery and in April, cousins Choepak Kyap and Sonam died after setting fire to themselves outside a government building in Barma town, Dzamthang county.
Dzamthang was also one of the locations in eastern Tibet where protests broke out in January. A Tibetan protestor was shot dead by Chinese security forces in in Barma town, Dzamthang county on 26 January.
Hundreds detained in Lhasa
Following the two self-immolations in Lhasa on 27 May, Chinese security forces have detained hundreds of Tibetans as security has been tightened throughout the city.
Local Tibetans and pilgrims in Lhasa for the annual Saga Dawa festival have been arbitrarily arrested and are being held in detention centres in and around Lhasa. Many non-residents have been expelled from the city.
Radio Free Asia quoted one source as saying up to 600 Tibetans have been detained so far. Another source said that about 80 Tibetans had arrested for photographing the self-immolations, which took place in front of the Jokhang temple. The atmosphere in Lhasa has been described as "very tense" with the areas around the Jokhang and Potala Palace almost deserted.
With many communication lines to Lhasa cut and the continued ban on foreign journalists it remains difficult to get detailed information on the current situation.
Further reading: RFA (self-immolation) I RFA (Lhasa) I Phayul I TCHRD I Take Action
Media coverage: BBC I Guardian I Daily Mail
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