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First self-immolation in Tibet in 2014 PDF Print E-mail
[7 February 2014] A Tibetan man set himself on fire in Malho, eastern Tibet on 6 February, in the first self-immolation protest to take place in Tibet this year. Phagmo Samdrub was taken away by Chinese security forces but is not known if he survived.

Phagmo SamdrubPhagmo Samdrub, 27 (29 in some reports, pictured right), self-immolated at approximately 9.30pm local time on 6 February near a school in Dokarmo township, Tsekhog (Chinese: Zeku) county, Malho (Ch: Huangnan) prefecture, Amdo (now incorporated into China's Qinghai province). Chinese security forces are reported to have arrived on the scene and taken Phagmo away. It is not known whether Phagmo survived or not.

UPDATE 17 February: Phagmo is reported to have died shortly after he was taken to hospital. The Chinese authorities cremated his body without his family's consent and then forced family members to throw the ashes into a nearby river. The family were not even allowed to keep a ring which Phagmo had been wearing.

According to a source quoted by Radio Free Asia, Phagmo's protest was "for the cause of Tibet", but it is not clear whether Phagmo shouted slogans. There are no further details about the self-immolation. However, it is known that security in the region has intensified in Tsekhog and nearby Rebkong (Ch: Tongren) counties.

Phagmo was a Tibetan tantric practioner and was married with two children.

Phagmo's self-immolation is the first to be reported in Tibet in 2014. The last known self-immolation was that of Tsultrim Gyatso on 19 December 2013, who left a note saying he felt "compelled" to burn his body due to China's tyrannical laws".

There have now been 125 self-immolations by Tibetans inside Tibet since 2009. There have also been six other self-immolations by Tibetans, one in Beijing, two in India and three in Nepal. The self-immolation protests, which started in February 2009, have been in response to the lack of freedoms brought about by Chinas hard-line policies in Tibet. The vast majority of self-immolators have specifically called for the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet, for an end to Chinas oppressive policies or for Tibetan unity.

Further reading: RFA I VOA I CTA

Confirmation of death: Phayul (15 Feb) I RFA (15 Feb) at end of report
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