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Fiftieth self-immolation this year sparks mass protest PDF Print E-mail
[5 November 2012] A young Tibetan artist has become the 50th Tibetan to self-immolate in Tibet this year. The self-immolation, which took place in Rebkong in eastern Tibet on 4 November, sparked a mass protest. Thousands of Tibetans gathered at the subsequent funeral service and shouted slogans. Security forces have since been deployed in Rebkong and restrictions on movement and communications have been reported.

Dorjee LhundrupDorjee Lhundrup (pictured right), in his mid-twenties, set fire to himself at approximately 10am local time on 4 November on Taglung South Street in Rebkong (Chinese: Tongren), Malho prefecture, Amdo (now part of China's Qinghai province). According to several sources, Dorjee shouted slogans during his protest including for the Dalai Lama to return to Tibet and for freedom for Tibet. Dorjee died at the scene.

Monks and local Tibetans protected Dorjee's body from Chinese police and troops who arrived shortly after the protest. The body was then taken to a hillside near Rongwo monastery where a cremation service was held.

Funeral of Dorjee LhundrupAccording to Radio Free Asia the funeral was quickly organised to prevent interference by the Chinese authorities. Several thousand Tibetans attended the funeral (pictured lef) despite the quick arrangement and China's security clampdown in the region. The crowd began shouting slogans including 'Ki! Ki!,' a Tibetan battle cry. Dorjee's family called for the crowd to end the protest fearing for their safety.

Latest reports indicate restrictions have been imposed in the region, with restrictions on movements of Tibetans, increased security forces and the blocking of communication channels. The situation has been described as tense.

Dorjee was a farmer from Chuma village in Rebkong and had two children, a two year-old daughter and a four year-old son. According to the Tibetan government in exile Dorjee was also known as a painter of thangkas (religious scrolls).

Dorjee Lhundrup is the third Tibetan to self-immolate in the Rebkong region. Jamyang Palden, a monk self-immolated in the grounds of Rongbo Gonchen monastery on 14 March 2012 and died in September. Sonam Dhargye died after self-immolating on 17 March 2012 in Tongpo town, Rebkong county. Dorjee Lhundrup is the 50th Tibetan to have self-immolated this year. There have been 63 self-immolations in Tibet since February 2009, resulting in 53 known deaths.

Further reading: ICT I VOA I CTA I Phayul
Warning: The VOA & CTA reports contain graphic self-immolation images.

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Background to self-immolations

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