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Mother amongst six detained following self-immolation PDF Print E-mail
[2 August 2013] The mother of a teenage monk who set fire to himself on 20 July was amongst at least six Tibetans detained following the self-immolation. Kunchok Sonam, an 18 year-old monk, died after self-immolating at his monastery in Dzoge, eastern Tibet. The detentions came after monks and local Tibetans prevented the Chinese authorities from removing his body.

Kunchok SonamKunchok Sonam (pictured right) carried out his protest at 8.40am on 20 July, shortly after morning prayers at Thangkor Soktsang monastery in Dzoge (Chinese: Ruanggui) county, Ngaba (Ch: Aba) prefecture, Amdo (now part of China's Sichuan province). It is reported that prior to his protest Kunchok told his friends that living under Chinese rule in Tibet had brought too much suffering. According to Radio Free Asia, Kunchok shouted slogans for Tibetan freedom during his protest. Kunchok died at the scene.

Following the protest, monks and local Tibetans prevented Chinese security personnel from taking Kunchok's body away. Hundreds of Tibetans gathered at the monastery later the same day to say prayers for Kunchok and to support those who had rescued Kunchok's body. The prayers took place despite efforts by the Chinese authorities to prevent the gathering.

On 21 July, Kunchok's mother, Lengtrug, plus his teacher and a number of relatives were detained and interrogated by the Chinese authorities. They were all released the following day. However, three Thangkor Soktsang monks, Tenzin Gyatso, Palden Gyatso and Sangye Palden, who were also detained following the self-immolation, remain in custody. Other detentions related to this case have been reported but not yet been confirmed.

Kunchok Sonam's self-immolation is the ninth to take place in Dzoge and the 23rd in Tibet this year. Dzoge is in a region which has seen harsh measures imposed by the Chinese government over the past two years in an effort to prevent self-immolations and protests. Security is reported to have been tightened even further in the Dzoge region since this latest self-immolation, with the deployment of additional army troops.

Further reading: (self-immolation) ICT I RFA I TCHRD
(detention) RFA I Phayul

Take Action  I  Background to self-immolations

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