DHARAMSHALA, March 5: A teenaged Tibetan school girl torched her body in an apparent protest against the Chinese occupation of Tibet in a busy market in eastern Tibet.
Tsering Kyi, 19, studying at a local middle school set herself on fire at a vegetable market in Machu in the traditional Amdo region of Tibet on March 3. She passed away at the scene.
The Dharamshala based Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, in a release today said that Chinese security personnel arrived at the scene of the protest and locked down the market.
“All mobile phones were confiscated in an attempt the stop the news of the protest from spreading,” the release said. “People at the scene of the protest were issued strict orders against speaking about the self-immolation.”
The police later visited Tsering Kyi’s house for identification and carried out door to door searches in the neighbourhood. Websites operating from the region have been shut down and heads of the regional government offices reportedly held a meeting following the protest.
Tsering Kyi’s body is in the custody of the local police according to sources.
Reporting on the self-immolation protest, US based RFA
said that Chinese market vendors threw stones at the girl's burning body, citing an unidentified Tibetan exile with connections to the community in Machu.
"The Tibetans present in the market were agitated and this almost resulted in a major clash between the Tibetans and Chinese," RFA
quoted a source as saying.
This is the first self-immolation protest that has been reported from Machu region.
A day after Tsering Kyi’s self-immolation, a 32 year-old Tibetan mother of four, Rinchen, torched her body
in the Ngaba region, which has been at the centre of the recent wave of self-immolations in Tibet.
Since 2009, 25 Tibetans have set themselves ablaze demanding the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile and freedom in Tibet.
Ahead of the ongoing rubber stamp parliament session, Beijing vowed to “smash” all peaceful expressions of protests inside Tibet and increase internet and phone surveillance in the region.
The exile Tibetan leadership and right groups have expressed fears of more self-immolation and further bloodshed in Tibet during the sensitive period of the March 10 Tibetan National Uprising Day.