DHARAMSHALA, January 14: In reports coming out of Tibet, a self-immolation by a Tibetan layman earlier today in Ngaba, eastern Tibet, has triggered a mass demonstration resulting in the death of one woman due to bullet wounds.
The self-immolation, the 16th since March last year, occurred at around 1.30 pm Tibet time in the distraught Ngaba region. Currently, there are not many details available on the Tibetan man but he is believed to be dead.
According to reports, Chinese security personnel arrived at the scene of the self-immolation and severely beat the Tibetan layman while putting off the flame. As the Chinese security personnel started to take away the man, who was believed to be dead by then, local Tibetans angered with the Chinese authorities, reportedly gathered at the site and demanded the body to be handed over to them.
In the ensuing impromptu mass protest, Chinese security personnel fired on the crowd and used teargas. One elderly Tibetan woman has been confirmed dead as result of the firing. However, other sources indicate that the number of dead could be much more.
In a release, Free Tibet quoted an eyewitness as describing the situation as “terrifying” and that people were being “beaten” while “numerous people have been detained”.
The Dharamshala based Central Tibetan Administration in a release today condemned the “use of violence against civilians” and appealed the international community to “intervene so as to restrain the Chinese government from further use of violence”.
“The People’s Republic of China’s government must take full responsibility for these cases of self-immolation. It is within its power to end these unfortunate incidents by adopting liberal policies for Tibet and Tibetan people,” the CTA said.
The Ngaba region in Tibet, seat of the besieged Kirti monastery has seen 11 Tibetans – monks, nuns, and laymen – set their bodies on fire since March last year.
This year alone, four Tibetans have died after setting themselves ablaze protesting China’s continued occupation of Tibet and demanding the return of the Dalai Lama from exile.