Mother of 4 Is Said to Be 110th Tibetan to Self-Immolate

DIDI KIRSTEN TATLOW, NY Times: A mother of four, Kal Kyi, set fire to herself on Sunday afternoon in Aba, a Tibetan area of Sichuan Province in China, becoming the 110th Tibetan to self-immolate in protest over Chinese rule since 2009, according to a report on an India-based Tibetan Web site, Phayul.com.
Her death comes more than two months since a respected Tibetan writer, Naktsang Nulo, published an online essay calling for the Dalai Lama to ask Tibetans to stop self-immolating. Unusually, the essay is still available on China’s censored Internet, where mention of the self-immolations is normally removed quickly.

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Even more unusually, Naktsang Nulo’s essay states bluntly that he doesn’t believe the self-immolators have been “incited.” The Chinese government has said self-immolaters have been helped or incited by followers of the Dalai Lama, but Naktsang Nulo wrote: “Some shameless people have remarked among other things that self-immolators were incited and fooled by others to do so,” adding, “I can understand that perhaps it is possible for one or two young people to be influenced by others to carry out self-immolation protests, but I cannot imagine learned lamas, monks, nuns and grown-up men and women have been incited or influenced by others.”

The Associated Press cited Radio Free Asia as saying Kal Kyi died at the scene of her self-immolation Sunday and her body was placed in the nearby Jonang Tibetan Buddhist monastery.
Her children, three sons and one daughter, are all under 15, according to Radio Free Asia. She set herself afire “to highlight the Chinese policy of violent rule in Tibet and Tibetan populated areas,” its Tibetan service reported, citing an unidentified source inside Tibet.

I reported last month on sympathy for the protest suicides among ordinary Tibetans, who have been
praying through the winter for their happy reincarnation, citing an eyewitness of such prayer meetings from a Tibetan area of Qinghai Province.

Yet Naktsang Nulo, who lives in the Tibetan area of Amdo in China, wrote in mid-January, when the number of suicides was at 97, in an article on his Bodrigs.com Web site:



“Unless one is deaf or blind, we can assume that everyone has seen or heard about the non-violent protests through self-immolation being carried out by many Tibetans in the last few years.” (The article is in English on the Web site of High Peaks Pure Earth, which gathers writings and other materials from the Tibetan Autonomous Region and elsewhere in China. It is available online inside China only in Tibetan, with links to Chinese and English versions not working as of the time of writing.)

He continues that “wherever one goes or wherever one may reside one can hear and know that the united call of the self-immolators is the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet. There is no disagreement on this. This is the wish not only of the self-immolators but the unwavering hope of all Tibetans. The world has clear knowledge of this.”

He continues with a plea to the Dalai Lama:

“No matter how pure and incomparable your hopes and faiths are please do not set yourself on fire. I particularly want to request our root guru, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, to pray for the sea of suffering in Tibet and kindly make a statement to ask the brave Tibetans not to self-immolate.”
The Dalai Lama has not explicitly supported the self-immolations, but he has not condemned them, either.

Naktsang Nulo instead appeals for Tibetans to pursue their rights through legal means:
“There are many ways to fight for freedom, to fulfill one’s aspirations and to struggle against the government. At a time when there is a so-called good leadership of the Communist Party, good governance from the administration, good economic development and good livelihood for the people, it seems that an individual, a group of people or a nationality can demand rights from the government, regional authorities or even the Communist Party by submitting appeals and through legal channels. It appears that one may not necessarily have to resort to self-immolation.”

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