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First self-immolation in Tibet in two months PDF Print E-mail
[30 September 2013] The first self-immolation in Tibet since July took place on 28 September. A Tibetan tailor and father of three self-immolated in the Ngaba region of eastern Tibet in protest against China's oppressive rule. The Chinese authorities have confiscated the body preventing traditional funeral rituals.

ShichungAt approximately 4pm local time on 28 September, Shichung (pictured right) set fire to himself near his home in Gomang town, Ngaba (Chinese: Aba) county, Ngaba prefecture, Amdo (now incorporated into China's Sichuan province). Shichung ran towards the main road whilst ablaze before collapsing and succumbing to his injuries.

According to Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), local Tibetans gathered to prevent armed Chinese police from taking Shichung's body away. A serious confrontation between the police and local Tibetens was avoided when village elders negotiated a truce. Shichung's body was then taken to his home to begin traditional funeral rituals.

However, later the same evening the Chinese police arrived at Shichung's home and confiscated the body. The current whereabouts of the body is not known. Security has been tightened in the area.

Local sources said that before his protest Shichung confided to his friends that he found it difficult living under Chinese rule. TCHRD's sources quoted Shichung as saying, They wont let us live. ('They' referring to the Chinese government.)

Shichung, 41, was a father of three children. Though the family were farmers, Shichung was well known for his tailoring skills and for selling his products during major festivals.

The self-immolation was the first in Tibet since 20 July, when Kunchok Sonam, a teenage monk, self-immolated and died at his monastery in Dzoge, Ngaba. Shichung is the 24th Tibetan to self-immolate in Tibet this year, and the 121st since the first self-immolation in February 2009. (Note: one additional self-immolation also took place in Beijing, so some agencies report 122 self-immolations.)

Further reading: TCHRD I RFA I ICT I Phayul

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