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Seven self-immolations over two week period marking Tibetan New Year PDF Print E-mail
[28 February 2013] Seven Tibetans self-immolated in eastern regions of Tibet over the two week period marking Losar, the Tibetan New Year, which was observed beginning on 11 February. Six of the seven are known to have died, with the condition of the seventh unknown. Despite a Chinese government crackdown to stop the self-immolation protests there have been 11 cases already in 2013, bringing the overall total to 107.

Drugpa Khar I Namlha Tsering I Rinchen and Sonam Dhargye I Phagmo Dhondup I Tsesung KyabSangdag
Take ActionBackground to self-immolations

Drugpa Khar (13 February 2013)
On 13 February, the day of the 100th anniversary of the 13th Dalai Lama's declaration of Tibetan independence and the third day of Tibetan Losar New Year celebrations, Drugpa Khar self-immolated in the Labrang region of eastern Tibet.

According to a source quoted by Radio Free Asia, Drugpa Khar set himself alight in protest against Chinese repressive policies in Tibet. The protest took place at about 1pm (local time) in Amchok town, Labrang (or Sangchu, Ch: Xiahe) county, Kanlho (Ch: Gannan) prefecture, Amdo (now part of China's Gansu province). Drugpa succumbed to his injuries and died at the scene.

Drugpa was 26 years old and a father of three children aged between one and six. Drugpa was born in Lushu Kyi village, Tsoe (Ch: Hezuo) county, Kanlho prefecture.

Further details are yet emerge about this case.

Further reading: RFA I Phayul I ICT

Namlha Tsering (17 February 2013)

Namlha TseringOn 17 February, Namlha Tsering (pictured right) self-immolated in Labrang town (also known as Sangchu, Ch: Xiahe), Kanlho (Ch: Gannan) prefecture, Amdo (now part of Chinas Gansu province). The 49 year-old farmer and nomad set fire to himself whilst sitting cross-legged in the middle of a busy road.

Chinese security personnel arrived quickly at the scene (pictured below), doused the flames and took Namlha away. Local Tibetans attempted to recover Namlhas body but were stopped by security personnel. It is not clear if Namlha died at the scene of his protest or after being taken away.

Troops in LabrangThe Chinese authorities cremated Namlhas body later the same day, not allowing any Tibetans to attend and denying his family the right to a traditional funeral. Armed police and military personnel are reported to have surrounded Namlhas village and threatened local Tibetans with arrest if they visited Namlhas family to pay respects.

Labrang has been placed under lockdown since the protest, with roadblocks set up restricting the movement of local Tibetans.

According to sources quoted by International Campaign for Tibet, Namlha, chose to self-immolate because of the hard-line Chinese policies on Tibet despite personally having a lovely family and comfortable living conditions. The same sources said Namlha, a father of four from nearby Ganja township, was known to be a gentle and honest person.

Further reading: ICT (17 Feb) I Phayul (17 Feb) I RFA (17 Feb) I Phayul (18 Feb) I
ICT (20 Feb)
Warning: All the reports except ICT (20 Feb) contain graphic images of the self-immolation.

Rinchen and Sonam Dhargye (19 February 2013)
RinchenOn 19 February, two Tibetan teenagers staged a joint protest in Dzoge (Ch: Ruanggui) county, Ngaba (Ch: Aba) prefecture, Amdo (now incorporated into China's Sichuan province).

Rinchen (pictured right), 17, and Sonam Dhargye, 18, undertook their protest at approximately 9.30pm (local time). It is not known if they shouted slogans during their protest. Both died at the scene. Their bodies were returned to their families but it is not known if they were allowed to perform traditional Tibetan funeral rituals.

Rinchen and Sonam Dhargye were from the same village, Gardong in Dzoge county and went to the same primary school in Kangsta township. Rinchen then went on to study at a school in Wenchuan and subsequently moved to Qinghai province for work. Rinchen had returned to his hometown for the Losar celebrations.

Further reading:

Phagmo Dhondup (24 February 2013)
Chachung monasteryOn 24 February at about 8pm (local time), Phagmo Dhondup self-immolated in eastern Tibet during a traditional prayer service attended by hundreds of monks. The protest took place at Chachung monastery (pictured right, also referred to as Jhakhyung), located in Tsapon township, Bayan Khar (Ch: Hualong) county, Tsoshar (Ch: Haidong) prefecture, Amdo (now incorporated into Chinas Qinghai province).

According to a source quoted by Radio Free Asia, Phagmo, in his early 20s, self-immolated in protest against the hard-line Chinese policy in Tibet. After the self-immolation, he was rushed to hospital by fellow monks. Phagmo is reported to have died later the same day.

Restrictions have been imposed on Chachung monastery and Chinese security forces have been deployed in the area.

Further reading: RFA I Phayul I VOA I ICT

Tsesung Kyab (25 February 2013)
Tsesung KyabAt approximately 1:30pm (local time) on 25 February, Tsesung Kyab (pictured right) died after setting fire to himself in front of the main prayer hall of Shitsang monastery in Luchu (Ch: Luqu) county, Kanlho (Ch: Gannan) prefecture, Amdo (now incorporated into China's Gansu province).

The large crowd, which had gathered at the monastery to celebrate the last day of the Tibetan Monlam festival, prevented Chinese security personnel from taking Tsesungs body away. After a skirmish between Chinese police and local Tibetans, Tsesungs body was returned to his nearby home in Choekhor village so traditional funeral rites could be performed.

Tsesung, a 27 year-old farmer and nomad, was the cousin of Pema Dorjee, who died after self-immolating at Shitsang monastery on 8 December 2012. It is not known if Tsesung shouted any slogans during his protest. Pema Dorjee was reported to have shouted slogans including Tibetan land to be governed by Tibetans, and calls for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Tibetan independence and unity among Tibetans.

Following Tsesungs protest supplementary armed forces were deployed to Luchu, particularly in the area surrounding Shitsang monastery.

Further reading: ICT I RFA I VOA I Phayul
Warning: All the reports except ICTs contain graphic images of the self-immolation.

Sangdag (25 February 2013)
On 25 February at about 10am (local time), Sangdag, a monk from the Diphu Geleg Terdzoe Ling monastery self-immolated in the centre of Ngaba (Ch: Aba) town, Ngaba prefecture, Amdo (now part of China's Sichuan province).Chinese police doused the flames and took Sangdag to a local hospital. He was then taken to a different but unknown location.

Further details of the Sangdags protest are not known. Sandags current condition and whereabouts are also not known.

Sangdag is the 11th Tibetan to be reported as having self-immolated in 2013, and the 107th since the self-immolation protests began in February 2009. (News of Sangdags self-immolation emerged after Tsesung Kyabs self-immolation, though it occurred earlier the same day.)

Further reading: Phayul I RFA

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