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China refuses to hand over body of Tibetan nun self-immolator PDF Print E-mail
[14 April 2015] A nun from Kardze county has become the second Tibetan to self-immolate in 2015. Following the incident, which took place on 8 April, the Chinese authorities confiscated the body and have refused to hand it over to the relatives, denying them the right to a traditional funeral.

Yeshi KhandoYeshi Khando (pictured right), a nun in her forties, set fire to herself on the morning of 8 April near a police station in Kardze (Ch: Ganzi) town in Kham (now incorporated into China's Sichuan province). Prior to her self-immolation, Yeshi had completed a circumambulation of Kardze monastery, where she had been visiting friends.

During her protest, Yeshi (also known as Yeyang) shouted slogans, including calling for the return of the Dalai Lama and for unity amongst the Tibetan people. According to Voice of America, Yeshi shouted the slogan "One united Tibet".

Chinese security forces were reported to have arrived quickly on the scene to extinguish the flames, following which they confiscated Yeshi's body. It is not clear whether Yeshi died at the scene or later whilst in custody.

The following day, Yeshis family were summoned to the police station where they were informed them that Yeshi had died, but that the body was not going to be released.

The Chinese authorities in Tibet have routinely denied families the right to a traditional funeral by refusing to hand over the bodies of self-immolators, returning ashes which cannot be identified or ordering a cremation to take place immediately.

Yeshi was a nun at Chokri Ngagong nunnery in Kardze county, though was originally from Draksur village in Drango county. Different reports say she was 42 or 47 years-old. According to sources quoted by Radio Free Asia, Yeshi was known as "a very simple and accomplished nun with sound judgement who had completed good practice". She is also believed to have been a participant in one of the many peaceful protests in Kardze since 2008.

This is the second self-immolation in Tibet this year, following that of
Norchuk, a female nomad, in early March.  Overall, 137 Tibetans have self-immolated in Tibet since 2009.  The majority have specifically called for the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet and for human rights for the Tibetan people.

Further reading:

Take ActionBackground to self-immolations

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