Third self-immolation in Tibet in eight days
[8 October 2012] The third self-immolation protest in Tibet in eight days took place on 6 October. Sangay Gyatso died after setting fire to himself and calling for the return of the Dalai Lama, religious freedom and language rights. The Chinese authorities have since tightened security at Dokar monastery, in north-eastern Tibet, where the protest took place.
Layman and father of two, Sangay Gyatso, self-immolated at approximately 12 noon on 6 October in the grounds of Dokar monastery. The monastery is located about 10km from Tsoe town in Tsoe (Chinese: Hezuo) county, Kanlho (Ch:Gannan) prefecture, Amdo. The region is now part of China's Gansu province.
According to sources quoted by the Voice of America news service, during his protest 27 year-old Sangay shouted slogans including for the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet and for Tibetans to freely practice their own religion and use their own language. Sangay died at the scene of his protest.
Sangay Gyatso was from a farming and nomadic family. He was married with two children. Following his death, prayers were said at Dokar monastery before his body was taken to his home.
Following the self-immolation, the Chinese authorities tightened security in the region, sending hundreds of troops to the monastery. Communications with the monastery have been cut and reports indicate that the monks are being interrogated. Elders from the Tibetan community have appealed to the authorities not to punish the monks as they did not initiate the protest. The region has been described as "extremely tense" since the self-immolation.
Sangay Gyatso is the third layman to have self-immolated in protest against China's oppressive regime in eight days. On 4 October, Gudrub set fire to himself in Nagchu, Tibet Autonomous Region whilst calling for Tibetan freedom. On 29 September, Yungdrung shouted out for independence for Tibet during his protest. All three men called for the Dala Lama to be allowed to return to Tibet.
Since February 2009 there have been 54 self-immolations in Tibet. Nineteen have been by laypeople, the rest by monks and nuns. There have been 45 confirmed deaths.
Further reading: VOA I RFA (6 Oct) I RFA (7 Oct)
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