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First self-immolation of 2013; family barred from holding funeral PDF Print E-mail
[14 January 2013] The first self-immolation of 2013 has taken place in Tibet. On 12 January, Tsering Tashi died after setting fire to himself in a protest against China's brutal rule over Tibet. The authorities then enforced a government ban on funerals for self-immolators and prevented Tsering's family from holding traditional rituals for the deceased.

Tsering TashiOn the day of his protest, 22 year-old Tsering Tashi, also known as Tsebhe, dressed himself in traditional Tibetan clothes and wound himself in wire (a tactic used by some self-immolators to try and prevent being stopped by security officials). Tsering set fire to himself at approximately 1pm local time in Amchok town, Labrang (or Sangchu, Chinese: Xiahe) county, Kanlho (Ch: Gannan) prefecture, Amdo (now part of China's Gansu province).

According to sources quoted by Radio Free Asia, during his protest Tsering shouted "Tibet needs freedom" as well as calling for the Dalai Lama's long life and for the Dalai Lama's return to Tibet. Tsering died at the scene.

Local Tibetans prevented Chinese security forces from taking Tsering's body away, carrying it instead to his family home in the nearby Kyi village. Despite a government ban on funerals and prayer services for self-immolators, people began to gather at the family home to pay their respects and offer prayers. According to sources quoted by Phayul, police and security officials arrived at the family home and ordered the rituals to cease and the body to be cremated immediately. It is believed the family acquiesced given the threat of punishments to family members and the village.

Tsering Tashi was described by fellow Tibetans as good natured and polite with a keen passion for horses and is understood to have won a number of local horse racing competitions.

Tsering Tashi is the first Tibetan known to have self-immolated in 2013. It is the 96th self-immolation in Tibet since such protests began in February 2009. Last year saw a dramatic rise in self-immolations in Tibet with 82 cases recorded.

Further reading: Phayul (a) I Phayul (b) I RFA I VOA
Warning: The Phayul (a) report contains a graphic image of the self-immolation

Take Action  I  Background to self-immolations

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