Chinese soldiers in Chengdu, Sichuan province. (Photo/AFP/Getty Images/Peter Park)
DHARAMSHALA, February 4: In reports coming out of Tibet, three Tibetans have self-immolated on February 3 in the undersieged town of Serthar in eastern Tibet.
A Tibetan in exile with contacts in the region told Phayul that two Tibetans survived the self-immolation but one is feared dead.
“The three Tibetans called for the unity of the Tibetan people and protested against the Chinese government,” the Tibetan who didn’t want to be named said.
The two who have reportedly survived have been identified as Tsering, around 60 years of age and Kyari, around 30. The third Tibetan who is feared dead cannot be identified at the time of reporting.
Serthar has been under an undeclared martial law with a heavy military lockdown since the January 24 mass protests. At least six Tibetans were reportedly shot dead in indiscriminate police firings on unarmed Tibetans.
Preceding the mass demonstrations, Tibetans in rural villages in Serthar had carried out protests on January 18 and 22 while a larger demonstration was also reported on January 23 in Serthar town where a banner reading: "We protest against failed Chinese policies in Tibet" was unfurled.
The same source told Phayul that in the January 18 protests, a large number of ‘wind horse’ prayer scrolls with the Tibetan national flag and slogans calling for the Dalai Lama’s long life and 'Victory to Tibet' printed on the backside were spread in the region.
Following the protests, the entire region has been cut off from the outside world with no phone or internet connections. The roads leading into the region remain blocked as earlier shown by a CNN report in which its reporters were detained and sent back while trying to enter the region.
In photos received by Phayul of the January 24 Serthar protests yesterday, Chinese military personnel could be seen severely beating and dragging Tibetans on the road.
Since Tapey’s self-immolation in 2009, 19 Tibetans have set themselves on fire demanding the return of the Dalai Lama and protesting China’s occupation of Tibet.
Amnesty International in a release last week called on China to avoid using excessive force in response to Tibetan protests and expressed fear of "further violence and bloodshed" in Tibet.