News and Views on Tibet

Two self-immolation attempts foiled in Tibet

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By Tendar Tsering

DHARAMSHALA, March 22: Chinese security personnel have foiled self-immolation attempts by two Tibetans in the past few days, after reports surfaced of Chinese authorities announcing financial rewards to the public for providing information on planned immolations.

Tsekhong, a handicapped Tibetan, was arrested yesterday in Gansu, eastern Tibet for attempting to set himself on fire in front of the Ala township centre, according to US based radio service RFA.

Tsekhog had sprayed kerosene all over his body and drank the fuel but before he could light his body, Chinese security personnel arrived and whisked him away.

“Tibetans suspect that a local resident, in the hope of getting a reward, had alerted the police about Tsekhog’s plan to self-immolate,” RFA said citing sources in the region.

A monetary reward of 5,000 Yuan for “alerting” the police and giving “credible” information about self-immolation protests was earlier announced by local authorities according to the report.

In other reports, Thinley, 17, a Tibetan student in Serthar, eastern Tibet, tried to burn himself, but due to an overdose of gasoline consumption, fainted at the site of his planned protest.

Exile based newspaper, Tibet Times reported that on March 12, Thinley poured gasoline all over his body and drank “plenty” of the fuel in a bid to set himself on fire.

“However, Thinley had an overdose of the gasoline consumption which caused him to faint at the protest site, deterring his immolation bid,” the report said.

Chinese police manning the streets in the region arrested Thinley, who is actively engaged in a local association promoting Tibetan language preservation.

Since then, no information about his well being and whereabouts is available.

As many as 30 Tibetans have torched their bodies since 2009 in Tibet, demanding the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile and freedom in Tibet.

According to the Central Tibetan Administration, 22 Tibetans have died in the ongoing wave of self-immolation protests, while the condition and whereabouts of four self-immolaters remain “unknown.”

The rest are being described in “serious condition,” having sustained spinal cord injuries and amputation of all limbs.

The Tibetan exile parliament, which is currently in session in Dharamshala, is today holding an informal closed-door meeting to debate on the critical situation inside Tibet.

On the first day of the ongoing session, the parliament held extensive discussions on the spate of self-immolations and mass protests inside Tibet and passed a unanimous resolution urging the Chinese leadership to immediately end its repressive policies in Tibet and allow an international fact-finding delegation to visit Tibetan areas.

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