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Two self-immolations in Tibet; first in five months PDF Print E-mail
[7 October 2014] Two Tibetan men have self-immolated in recent weeks, the first such protests in Tibet since April. Lhamo Tashi died from his injuries while Kunchok remains in critical condition. Both were protesting against the Chinese government's oppressive policies in Tibet.

These are the first self-immolations in Tibet since
Thinley Namgyal set fire to himself and died on 15 April in Tawu county. There have now been nine self-immolations in Tibet in 2014 and 132 since 2009.
Take ActionBackground to self-immolations


Kunchok

silhouetteOn 16 September, Kunchok set fire to himself outside a police station in Tsangkor town, Gade (Chinese: Gande) county, Golog (Ch: Guoluo) prefecture, Amdo (now incorporated in to China's Qinghai province). Onlookers managed to douse the flames and take him to a hospital. Kunchok remains in critical condition with serious burn injuries.

According to a source quoted by Radio Free Asia, "[Kunchok] self-immolated in protest against Chinese policy in Tibet." The source added, "He did it for the interest of the Tibetans."

Kunchok, 42, is a father of two children, a son who is a monk and a daughter who is a nun.

News of the protest only emerged on 4 October, in part due to China's clampdown on communications following the protest and in part in an effort to protect Kunchok and those who helped him.

According to another Radio Free Asia source, Kunchok's relatives "fear that those who helped him could land in trouble with the authorities". They also are worried "Kunchok could be taken away by the authorities if he survives". Another source said that the Chinese authorities had increased security in the area, which has included the installation of security cameras at local monasteries.

In December 2012, the Chinese government introduced a new criminal charge of
"intentional homicide" for those assisting or connected with self-immolation protests. Numerous Tibetans have since been imprisoned on this charge. In January 2013, Lobsang Kunchok was handed a suspended death sentence after being accused of involvement in eight self-immolations.

Further reading: RFA I Phayul I ICT
Note: all reports contain disturbing images of Kunchok's burns.


Lhamo Tashi
Lhamo TashiAt about midnight on 17 September, Lhamo Tashi self-immolated outside a police station in Tsoe (Chinese: Hezuo) county, Kanlho (Ch: Gannan) prefecture, Amdo (now incorporated into  China's Gansu province).

The 22 year-old student shouted slogans during his protest, though it is not known what he shouted. According to a local Tibetan quoted by Radio Free Asia, Lhamo Tashi self-immolated "for Tibetan freedom". He died at the scene.

Chinese police took away Lhamo's body from the scene and then refused requests from Lhamo's family to hand over the body to allow traditional Tibetan funeral rites. The following day the police handed over ashes to family members.

According to sources quoted by International Campaign for Tibet, it is believed Lhamo may have timed his protest to coincide with Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to India.

Lhamo Tashi, one of three brothers, was from Amchok village, Bora township, Sangchu county, Kanlho prefecture. He was studying at a teacher training college in Kanlho and was said to be dedicated to preserving his Tibetan heritage. In 2008, he took part in protests against Chinese rule for which he was temporarily detained.


Further reading: RFA I ICT I TCHRD I VOA

Take ActionBackground to self-immolations


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