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Monk becomes 100th Tibetan to self-immolate under China's rule PDF Print E-mail
[13 February 2013] A monk from Kirti monastery in Ngaba, eastern Tibet has become the 100th Tibetan living under China's rule to self-immolate since 2009. Lobsang Namgyal is reported to have died at the scene. The incident took place on 3 February; the delay in reporting due to the Chinese government's tight controls restricting the flow of information from Tibet.

Lobsang NamgyalAccording to exiled Kirti monks based in Dharamsala, Lobsang Namgyal (pictured right), a 37 year-old monk from Kirti monastery, set fire to himself at approximately 6am on 3 February outside a police building in Dzoge (Chinese: Ruanggui) county, Ngaba (Ch: Aba) prefecture in the traditional Tibetan province of Amdo (now incorporated into Chinas Sichuan province).

During his protest, Lobsang shouted slogans for the long life of the Dalai Lama and ran towards the police building whilst ablaze. Lobsang died at the scene.

Chinese security personnel took Lobsang's body away and are understood to have immediately cremated his body, denying his family the right to hold a traditional funeral.

Security has been tightened in the Ngaba region since the protest. Relatives of Lobsang have reportedly placed under surveillance, and his younger brother is understood to have been detained for several days.

In September 2012 Lobsang Namgyal was detained by the Chinese authorities on unknown charges. He was released after two weeks but was unable to return to his monastery and was placed under constant surveillance. He only returned to Kirti monastery to offer prayers shortly before his self-immolation protest.

Lobsang Namgyal is the 100th Tibetan living under rule of the Chinese government to self-immolate. There have been 99 confirmed self-immolation protests by Tibetans in Tibet and one by a Tibetan in Beijing. The Beijing self-immolation took place in September 2012, but was unreported until January 2013.

The first self-immolation by a Tibetan took place in February 2009, also by a monk from Kirti monastery in Ngaba. Though many of the initial self-immolations were by monks and nuns, the protests have involved many lay-people and have spread across Tibetan regions in the Chinese provinces of Sichuan, Qinghai and Gansu as well as in the Tibet Autonomous Region. There were 82 self-immolations in 2012 as the protests intensified, with 28 recorded in November alone. Lobsang Namgyal's self-immolation is the fourth of 2013.

Tibet Society press release: British MPs, Whilst expressing their deep concern that 100 Tibetans have now taken the drastic decision to self-immolate, have condemned China's crackdown in Tibet and called on the Chinese government to examine their policies in Tibet and urgently address the grievances of the Tibetan people.
Click here to read the full press release

March 2013 UPDATE: Lobsang Namgyal was widely reported to be the 100th Tibetan under Chinese rule to self-immolate. However, he was actually the 102nd under Chinese rule - as one self-immolation took place in Beijing, by Passang Lhamo in September 2012 (see CTA report) - and the 101st in Tibet as the joint self-immolation of Thupten Nyendak Rinpoche and Atse, which took place in April 2012, only came to light in March 2013.

Self-immolation in Nepal
An exiled Tibetan died after self-immolating in Kathmandu, Nepal on 13 February. The yet unnamed male Tibetan set himself on fire near the Boudhanath stupa at around 8am local time. The man shouted slogans during his protest, believed to be against China's occupation of Tibet. Tibetans living in Nepal face restrictions against expressing their national identity as China's influence in Nepal grows.

The self-immolations in Ngaba and Kathmandu coincided with the 100th anniversary of the 13th Dalai Lama's proclamation of Tibetan independence, announced on 13 February 1913.

Further reading: PhayulICT I VOA

98th and 99th self-immolations in Tibet
[25 January 2013] Two self-immolations have taken place in Tibet in the past week, the second and third of the new year and the 98th and 99th overall. Both men are reported to have died.

DrubchokDrubchok, also referred to as Tsering Phuntsok, is the second Tibetan to self-immolate in 2013. His protest took place at around 3.15pm local time on 18 January in the village of Drachen. Phayul reported a source as saying that Drubchok, 28, said the Dalai Lamas name, Gyalwang Tenzin Gyatso, and clasped his hands together in prayer before self-immolating. He died at the scene. It is believed that Chinese security personnel removed Drubchoks body, took it to nearby Barkham and cremated it without informing his family.

Monks from Amchok Tsennyi monastery held a prayer service at Drubchoks home. Since his death there has been an increased military presence in Drachen and the surrounding area. A tense atmosphere of fear and anxiety has been reported.

He leaves behind his pregnant wife, Rigpa, and two daughters, aged 5 and 3. His father, Kyokpo, is said to have told well-wishers that My son died for the justice and freedom of the Tibetan people. I dont have an iota of regret.

Further reading: Phayul (18 Jan) I Phayul (21 Jan) I TCHRD I RFA
Warning: Both Phayul reports contain graphic images of the self-immolation

Kunchok KyabKunchok Kyab, 26, self-immolated near Bora monastery on 22 January around noon. Kyab is the third Tibetan to self-immolate in 2013.

His protest took place whilst monks at Bora monastery were taking part in a daily prayer session. Kyabs body was removed from the scene by Chinese security personnel and taken to an undisclosed location. Kyab was described as a hardworking man of few words who was modest and unassuming. He leaves behind his wife, Kharmo Thar, and their 10-month-old son.

Less than two months ago, on 2 December 2012, Sungdue Kyab, also self-immolated near Bora monastery.

Kunchok Kyabs death has sparked major unrest in the region. At 7pm on the day of his death local Tibetans from his village and surrounding villages gathered outside the local government office to demand access to his body to perform funeral rites. This request was denied and the authorities explicitly banned anyone from visiting Kyabs house to perform the rites. In response, locals held their own prayer service outside the government offices.

Further reading: Phayul (22 Jan) I Phayul (23 Jan) I RFA

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