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Harsh measures continue as self-immolations in Tibet reach 130 PDF Print E-mail
[17 April 2014] On 15 April, a Tibetan man became the 130th Tibetan to self-immolate in Tibet in the past five years. Thinley Namgyal's protest against China's rule is the sixth self-immolation to take place in Tibet in 2014. Similar incidents this year have seen the Chinese authorities continue their policy of confiscating the bodies of self-immolators, cremating the bodies without the family's consent and arbitrarily detaining relatives and those connected to self-immolators.

Recent self-immolation cases:
Thinley Namgyal (15 April 2014)
Dolma (29 March 2014)
Lobsang Palden (16 March 2014)
Jigme Tenzin (16 March 2014)


Thinley Namgyal: 15 April 2014
Thinley NamgyalThinley Namgyal, 32, set fire to himself at around 12 noon (local time) in Khangsar township, Tawu (Ch: Dawu) county, Kardze (Ch: Ganzi) prefecture, Kham (now incorporated in China's Sichuan province). He died at the scene and local Tibetans took his body to a nearby monastery before the authorities could confiscate it. The body was later handed over to his family.

Radio Free Asia quoted a local resident as saying, "He self-immolated in protest against Chinese policy and rule [in Tibet]." Since the self-immolation, security in the region has been tightened and communication links with the region were eventually cut.

Thinly Namgyal is the sixth Tibetan to self-immolate this year, and becomes the 130th Tibetan to protest in such a way since February 2009.

Further reading: RFA I Phayul
Warning: The Phayul report contains a graphic image of the self-immolation.


Dolma: 29 March 2014
DolmaAt about 3pm local time on 29 March, Dolma (also referred to as Drolma in some reports), a 31 year-old Tibetan nun, set fire to herself outside Ba Choede monastery. The monastery is located in Bathang (Ch: Batang) county, Kardze (Ch: Ganzi) prefecture, Kham (now part of China's Sichuan province).

Local Tibetans, who witnessed the protest on the path which circles the monastery, managed to extinguish the flames and took Dolma to hospital. Subsequently, the authorities banned anyone from visiting Dolma. Her current condition is unknown.

Following the protest security was tightened in the town and communication lines were cut in the region. Up to six nuns from Dolma's nunnery are believed to been detained, but their current condition and whereabouts is not known.

Dolma is from Chisung village in Bathang. Her family is understood to include three senior reincarnate lamas.

Dolmas protest is the first known self-immolation to take place in Bathang county since such protests began in Tibet in 2009. It is the fifth to take place in Tibet this year, and the 129th since February 2009.

Further reading: ICT I RFA


Lobsang Palden: 16 March 2014
Lobsang PaldenLobsang Palden self-immolated on the sixth anniversary of a deadly crackdown by the Chinese authorities on Tibetans in Ngaba (Ch: Aba) town, Ngaba prefecture, Amdo (now incorporated into China's Sichuan province). The 20 year-old monk from Kirti monastery set himself on fire on the main road in Ngaba at approximately 11.30am on 16 March. He is said to have shouted slogans during his protest before security personnel doused the flames and took him away.

Lobsang died five days after his protest in a military hospital in Barkham county. According to a source quoted by Radio Free Asia, Lobsang's family went to collect his body, but were given only some remains and were not even sure that the remains were Lobsangs.

According to Phayul, Lobsang left a text message on his phone in which he called for unity amongst Tibetans. The translated message said, We should maintain cordial relations with others, particularly with Chinese because if we are united and have love for each other, no matter what our thoughts are, it will enable us to communicate with each other better.

Lobsang's protest came on the anniversary of a crackdown by Chinese security forces in Ngaba. On 16 March 2008, at least 10 Tibetans were killed when the security forces opened fire on a demonstration.

Lobsang Palden's self-immolation took place on the same day as that of Jigme Tenzin's in Tsekhog. Their protests bring the total number of Tibetan self-immolations in Tibet to 128 since and are the third and fourth to take place in 2014.

Further reading: RFA (16 March) I Phayul (23 March) I RFA (25 March)


Jigme Tenzin: 16 March 2014
Jigm TenzinJigme Tenzin, a monk from Shador (aka Sonag) monastery, died shortly after self-immolating on 16 March 2014. Jigme set fire to himself on the path which circles Shador monastery in Tsekhog (Ch: Zeku) county, Malho (Ch: Huangnan) prefecture, Amdo (now part of China's Qinghai province).

According to Radio Free Asia, Jigme's fellow monks took him back to the monastery but could not save him. They then immediately cremated his body to avoid it being confiscated by the authorities.

When security forces arrived they forcibly closed the monastery, preventing anyone from leaving or entering, and cut all lines of communication. Fourteen monks were detained and beaten in custody. Three were later released. It is not known what has happened to the 11 other monks. Chinese officials have forced monks at Shador monastery to undergo 'political re-education'.

On 22 March, Jigme's father was arrested after appealing to the authorities not to punish the Shador monks. His current whereabouts is unknown. Jigme's two brothers were arrested on 18 March but later released. The local authorities have banned traditional funeral rituals to be conducted at Jigme Tenzin's family home.

Jigme Tenzin's self-immolation took place on the same day as that of Lobsang Palden's in Ngaba. Their protests bring the total number of Tibetan self-immolations in Tibet to 128 since and are the third and fourth to take place in 2014.

Further reading: RFA I Phayul I Free Tibet

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