DHARAMSHALA, May 30: A mother of three young children has torched herself to death in an apparent protest against China’s continued occupation of Tibet, today.
Rikyo, 33, set herself on fire near the Jonang Zamthang Gonchen monastery in Zamthang (Ch: Rangtang) county, in the distraught Ngaba region, the nerve centre of the ongoing wave of self-immolations in Tibet.
Speaking to Phayul, Tsangyang Gyatso, an exile Tibetan who has close contacts in the region said that Rikyo passed away at the site of her self-immolation protest.
“Rikyo set herself on fire at around 3 pm (local time) today close to the Jonang Monastery, protesting against Chinese rule,” Gyatso said. “She passed away at the site of her protest.”
Rikyo’s body is currently being kept at the Jonang Monastery, although Chinese security personnel have reportedly demanded the body to be removed.
Rikyo is survived by her husband and three children, the eldest, a 9-year old son and two daughters aged 7 and 5.
The ongoing fiery wave of self-immolations in Tibet has witnessed 38 Tibetans set their bodies on fire demanding the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile and freedom in Tibet. Today’s self-immolation protest comes just three days after two young Tibetan men set themselves on fire in heart of Tibet’s capital Lhasa.
Rikyo’s self-immolation was the fourth in Zamthang alone.
In April, two cousins, Choephag Kyab and Sonam, both in their early 20s, passed away after they set themselves on fire near a local Chinese government office. In an audio message
recorded before their protest, Choephag Kyab and Sonam recount the suffering of the Tibetan people due to the lack of fundamental human rights and the forced occupation and repression of Tibet by China.
“So, for the restoration of freedom in Tibet and world peace, both of us in sound mind, are setting ourselves on fire,” Choephag Kyab and Sonam stated. “The Tibetan people’s suffering due to denial of freedom is far greater that the tragedy of setting our bodies on fire.”
In a recent interview to a media crew of the Taiwan based Next TV, Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama had said that the People Republic of China’s “totalitarian, blind, unrealistic” policies in Tibet are responsible for the ongoing wave of self-immolations in Tibet.
“This problem (self-immolations) has been started by the totalitarian, blind, unrealistic policies,” the Tibetan leader said. “So, the people who created these policies must think seriously.”