Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Tibetan nomad woman dies of self-immolation

BEIJING: A protesting Tibetan woman, Tsepe Kyi, died after immolating herself in Sichuan province on Monday, according to reports reaching here today. This is the third case of self-immolation among Tibetans protesting against Chinese rule to take place in this week. 

Human rights groups like the International Campaign for Tibet said the woman's parents and two brothers were taken away by the police. She was 19 or 20 years old, and came from a Tibetan nomad community. This is possibly the first case of a Tibetan nomad to die of self-immolation since the trend of suicides as protest began in 2009. 

Photographs and videos posted on Internet sites show Tsepe's charred remains on a sidewalk in Meruma town in China's Sichuan province, and two police vans removing them from the sidewalk. Cell phone and Internet access was blocked in the town, soon after the incident, reports said. 

She committed self-immolation at 2pm on Monday. Her parents and brothers may have been taken away for questioning by police because Chinese law makes it punishable not to report any knowledge about self-immolation. It is not clear if they were released after detention. 

The follows another incident of self-immolation by a 33-year-old man, Sangye Khar, who set himself ablaze outside a police station in Gansu, a province in north-central China, the Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet and US-funded Radio Free Asia, reported. 

The incident took place last week during the anniversary of the death of Tsongkhapa, who founded the Gelugpa or Yellow Hat school of Tibetan Buddhism in the 15th century, at a popular tourist destination, Xiahe. 

Another man set himself on fire in Amuqu township on Tuesday morning, and died "in protest against Chinese policies in Tibetan areas", RFA said, citing anonymous local sources. 

Tibetan protestors have been regularly using self-immolation to draw attention to their complaints about religious repression by the government since 2009. RFA estimates that at least 130 acts of self-immomolation.

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