Tibetan Kills Herself At Bank

She commits suicide after rejecting charges she misused public funds.

A Tibetan woman has died after drinking acid and self-immolating in a Tibetan region of the western Chinese province of Gansu after she was accused of embezzlement at the bank where she worked, a source close to the family said.

Jamyang Metok, 25, died on Saturday after drinking sulfuric acid and setting fire to herself at the front entrance of the Industrial and Commercial Bank (ICB) in Kanlho (in Chinese, Gannan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, sources close to the family said.

"She worked at the local branch of the Industrial and Commercial Bank in Tianzhu county," a Tibetan source familiar with the case said.

"After she got back from a holiday...in Guangdong, the head of the ICB branch accused her of embezzling money, and of misuse of public funds."

"This woman all of a sudden swallowed sulfuric acid and set fire to her clothes," the source said. "She died on the spot, right there at the main door of the bank."

"She said she wasn't guilty of corruption...but the branch boss tried to pin this crime on her, and she tried to protest, but to no avail."

"I don't know whether she was corrupt or not, but I don't think such a young person would drink sulfuric acid if it wasn't a set-up."

Jamyang Metok was a native of Huirui district and a graduate of the Qinghai Nationalities Institute,
the source said. Her father's name was Drongre and her mother's name was Jomo Tsering.

Her family had scattered her ashes on the Tashi Longwa mountain following their daughter's funeral on Monday.

Incident denied

An employee who answered the phone at the ICB branch in Tianzhu denied the incident had taken place.

"No, no, no, I never heard of this," the employee said. "No, no, this never happened...I can guarantee this 100 percent, and other people will back me up."

"There are a lot of rumors flying around right now...making stuff up out of nothing."

Jamyang Metok's uncle declined to answer questions when contacted by RFA, hanging up the phone immediately after being asked about his niece.

An official who answered the phone at the Gansu provincial ruling Chinese Communist Party committee complaints office declined to comment.

"I don't really know about this...everyone's in a big meeting this morning, so perhaps you could call again tomorrow," the official said.

It was unclear whether Jamyang's suicide had any political motivation beyond the dispute with her boss.

Before Jamyang's suicide, 51 Tibetans have set fire to themselves since February 2009 mostly in protest against Chinese rule and calling for the return of the Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader, who now lives in exile in Dharamsala, India.

Reported by Qiao Long for RFA's Mandarin service. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie.

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