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Four self-immolations in Tibet over two days PDF Print E-mail
[28 October 2012] Four Tibetans have self-immolated in three separate instances on 25 and 26 October in eastern Tibet. Following reports earlier in the week, there have now been seven self-immolations in six days, all of whom are believed to have been protesting against Chinese government oppression in Tibet. Six of the seven protestors are known to have died, the condition of the seventh is unknown.

This is the highest number of self-immolations in a single week in Tibet, since this form of protest was first reported in February 2009. The total number of self-immolations in Tibet has now reached 62.

TenzinOn 25 October, a joint self-immolation was undertaken by two young Tibetans in Narong, Driru county (Ch: Briru), Nagcu (Ch: Naqu) prefecture, Kham (an area now incorporated into China's Tibet Autonomous Region). Tsepo and Tenzin (Tenzin pictured right) set themselves on fire near a government building (possibly a school, according to some reports). They shouted slogans during their protest, demanding freedom for Tibet and the return of the Dalai Lama. Tsepo (20) died shortly after the protest, whilst Tenzin (25) was taken away by Chinese security forces. Tenzin's condition and whereabouts are not known.

Some reports indicate Tsepo and Tenzin were cousins and also former monks from Bankar monastery in Driru county, though this has not been confirmed. According to Radio Free Asia the two young men also called for all Tibetans to be "united like brothers during their protest.

The Chinese government has stepped up security in Driru county since the joint self-immolations, including the cutting of communication channels and the deployment of security forces.

Two further self-immolations took place on the following day in separate instances in Labrang county (also known in Tibetan as Sangchu; in Chinese: Xiahe), Kanlho (Ch: Gannan) prefecture in Amdo (now part of China's Gansu province).

Lhamo TsetenAt approximately 2.30pm on 26 October, Lhamo Tseten (pictured right), a 24 year-old Tibetan nomad and farmer, set fire to himself near a Peoples Armed Police station in Amchok township, Labrang county. According to a local source, Lhamo Tseten's protest came shortly after having lunch with friends. He then ran down the street ablaze whilst shouting slogans calling for freedom for Tibet and the return to Tibet of the Dalai Lama. After collapsing, Lhamo Tseten is said to have clasped his hands together as if he was praying. He died at the scene.

Chinese security forces gathered nearby but did not intervene as local people took Lhamo Tseten's body to his hometown. He leaves behind a wife and a two year-old daughter.

Thubwang KyabThe second self-immolation in Labrang county on 26 October took place at approximately 7pm local time on the main street of Sangkok township. Thubwang Kyab (pictured left), 21, (also referred to as Tsewang Kyab or Tsepak Kyab) shouted slogans during his protest calling for freedom for Tibet, for the Dalai Lama to return to Tibet and for the release of the Panchen Lama and all political prisoners. Thubwang died at the scene.

Local Tibetans took Thubwang's body to his home in Sangkhok after stopping Chinese security forces from taking the body away. Reports indicate an increased security presence in Sangkhok since the self-immolation.

[UPDATE 1 November: Thousands of Tibetans attended the funeral of Thubwang Kyab in Sangkok on 31 October, despite a security crackdown in the region.]

Further reading:

Warning: The Phayul report below contains a graphic self-immolation image.
Tsepo & Tenzin: RFA I ICT I Phayul

Warning: The RFA & TCHRD reports below contain graphic self-immolation images.
Lhamo Tseten & Thubwang Kyab: ICT I TCHRD I RFA I Phayul I Phayul (1 Nov)

Previous self-immolations this week: Lhamo Kyab I Dhondup I Dorjee Rinchen
Take Action Background to self-immolations

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