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Chinese-operated mine targeted with self-immolation protests PDF Print E-mail
[27 November 2012] Two Tibetans have self-immolated, a week apart, at a gold mine in Amchok, eastern Tibet. The gold mine is a Chinese-run operation and has previously been the focus of protests by Tibetans concerned over the mine's environmental impact.

Tsering DhondupTsering Dhondup (pictured top right), 35, self-immolated at about 8.30am on 20 November. Kunchok Tsering (pictured below right), 18, self-immolated six days later, on 26 November. Both set themselves on fire near the entrance to the gold mine on Ghong-ngon Lari mountain located in Amchok township, Sangchu (or Labrang, Chinese: Xiahe) county, Kanlho (Ch: Gannan) prefecture, Amdo (now incorporated into China's Gansu province). Both men died at the scene.

Kunchok TseringTsering Dhondup, married with three children, was known to be particularly concerned about China's mining in the region. According to TCHRD's sources, "Tsering wanted to highlight the hardship and suffering of the local Tibetans harmed by mining activities." Local sources say that Tsering was a "gentle character" and devoted to Tibetan freedom as well as environmental issues.

Tsering Dhondup's body was returned to his home in Chungennang village and hundreds of people, including over 300 monks, gathered to say prayers and pay respects.

Large numbers of local Tibetans gathered at Amchok monastery to say prayers for Kunchok Tsering, who is survived by his 19 year-old wife.

Ghong-ngon Lari gold mineThe Ghong-ngon Lari mountain gold mine (pictured left) is believed to be responsible for local water pollution and according to local farmers has impacted on cattle grazing. The Chinese authorities have ignored petitions and peaceful protests from local Tibetans calling for an end to mining in the area.

These are the first known self-immolations to be linked to mining and environmental issues in Tibet. They are the second and third self-immolations to have taken place in Amchok. On 26 October 2012, Lhamo Tseten died after self-immolating near a police station in Amchok.

Further reading:
Warning: Phayul & TCHRD reports on Tsering Dhondup contain graphic images
Tsering Dhondup: Phayul I TCHRD I RFA I VOA
Kunchok Tsering: Phayul I TCHRD I VOA

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