18-year-old sets self on fire, Third self-immolation in two days

Tibetan self-immolator Kunchok Tsering in an undated photo.
Tibetan self-immolator Kunchok Tsering in an undated photo.
Phayul: In unrelenting reports of self-immolations coming out of Tibet, another Tibetan set himself on fire today in an apparent protest against China’s occupation of Tibet.

Kunchok Tsering, 18, passed away in his self-immolation protest today in Amchok region of Labrang, eastern Tibet. He carried out his protest near a mining site in the region, the same place where Tsering Dhondup, 35, father of three, passed away in his fiery protest on November 20.

According to reports, monks of the Amchok Monastery and a large number of local Tibetans are currently gathered at the deceased’s home to offer prayers.

Kunchok Tsering is survived by his wife, Sangay Tso, 19 and parents Phagkyab, 40 and Gonpo Tso, 37, and an elder brother.

Earlier today, a young Tibetan Wangyal set himself on fire in the middle of Sertha town raising slogans for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

According to eyewitnesses, Wangyal’s hands were clasped in prayers as he ran raising slogans for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and freedom for the Tibetan people.

Wangyal’s condition and whereabouts are not yet known after Chinese security forces took possession of his charred body.

Also today, over a thousand school students in Chabcha, eastern Tibet carried out a massive protest after local Chinese officials distributed papers denouncing Tibetan self-immolators and disrespecting Tibetan language. Chinese security personnel used violent force to break up the peaceful demonstrations, causing severe injuries to many students.

The deepening crisis inside Tibet has witnessed large scale anti-China protests and a series of self-immolations that has now seen 84 Tibetans set themselves on fire, since 2009, demanding freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama from exile.

November alone has reported 22 self-immolations and protests by thousands of Tibetans. Yesterday, Sangay Dolma, a nun, passed away in her self-immolation protest in front of the Chinese government office in Dokarmo town of Tsekhog, Malho, eastern Tibet.

Chinese authorities in the region have reacted by announcing a series of strict measures targeting the ongoing wave of self-immolations with further restrictions, punishments, and threats.

Chinese government authorities in Malho region issued a five-point notice on November 14 giving stern orders to local officials “to punish self-immolators and their families; even those who had offered condolences and prayers to the bereaved family members and relatives.” The notice further announced the cancellation of government aid to families of self-immolators as well as development projects in villages where similar protests have taken place.

The exile Tibetan administration has maintained that the reasons for the self-immolations are self-evident: political repression, economic marginalisation, environmental destruction, and cultural assimilation. .

“The blame and solution for the present tragedy in Tibet lies entirely with Beijing,” Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay, the elected head of the Tibetan people, said earlier this month. “We firmly believe that an end to repression will effectively end the cycle self-immolation.”

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