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Land seizure prompts self-immolation PDF Print E-mail
[9 July 2012] A Tibetan woman has self-immolated during a public protest against forced evictions and land seizures by the Chinese government. The incident, now confirmed, occurred on 27 June in Jyekundo, eastern Tibet.

ImageDickyi Choezom, a mother of two in her 40s, set fire to herself at around 2pm on 27 June. Local police extinguished the flames and rushed her to hospital. Her current condition is not known, though she is beleived to be in serious condition. The Chinese authorities have refused family visits to the hospital.

Dickyi was taking part in a protest along with about 70 Tibetan families in Jyekundo (aka Kyegundo; Chinese: Yushu), Kham (Qinghai province). The protest was to highlight the Chinese government's unjust land confiscation policies which have been implemented as part of a re-development programme following an earthquake in 2010. It is understood that Dickyi's home had been confiscated by the authorities and was due to be demolished.

On 14 April 2010, an earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale hit the Jyekundo region, killing over 2,200 people, injuring 12,000 and making over 100,000 people homeless. Over 15,000 buildings were destroyed during the quake, and 87 monasteries were seriously damaged.

Following the earthquake the Chinese government instigated a redevelopment programme for the area with the aim of attracting more tourists to the region. Many Han Chinese are understood to have also moved to the area since the earthquake. Tibetans have had their land confiscated, been forced to relocate and received inadequate compensation. In April 2011 over 300 Tibetans protested against the injustices of the redevelopment. The authorities responded with force, resulting in many injuries and detentions.

Two of Dickyi's relatives, who also took part in the protest on 27 June, were arrested and beaten following the self-immolation. However, both were released after Tibetans gathered to demand their release.

Dickyi Choezom is the 42nd Tibetan to have self-immolated in Tibet in protest against the Chinese government's oppressive policies. She is seventh female and 13th layperson to have self-immolated. Her case is the 29th to have occurred this year.

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