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Just in: Situation ‘very tense’ in Rebkong, Thousands continue to protest
Phayul[Thursday, November 08, 2012 17:25]
Tibetans carrying pictures of His Holiness the Dalai Lama demonstrating against Chinese rule in Rongwo region of Rebkong, eastern Tibet on November 8, 2012.
Tibetans carrying pictures of His Holiness the Dalai Lama demonstrating against Chinese rule in Rongwo region of Rebkong, eastern Tibet on November 8, 2012.
DHARAMSHALA, November 8: In fresh reports coming in, 6000 to 10,000 Tibetans are gathered at the Dolma Sqaure in front of the Rongwo Monastery in Rebkong, eastern Tibet, raising slogans for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet.

Sources in exile tell Phayul that the situation there is “very tense and volatile” with Chinese armed forces closing-in on the protesters.

“Thousands of Tibetans are currently gathered at the Dolma Square, the site of Kalsang Jinpa’s self-immolation protest, raising slogans for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and his long life,” Geshe Rongpo Lobsang Nyendak, a member of the Tibetan Parliament told Phayul.

“The situation there is very tense as Chinese armed forces have placed severe restrictions on movement in the town and are now closing-in on the protesters.”

18-year-old nomad, Kalsang Jinpa, set himself on fire at the Dolma Square protesting against China’s occupation of Tibet at around 4 pm (local time) today. The former monk of the Rongwo Monastery raised a white banner carrying slogans calling for the Dalai Lama’s return and the rights of the Tibetan people before setting himself ablaze. He passed away in his fiery protest.

“Shortly after hearing news of Kalsang Jinpa’s self-immolation, thousands of Tibetans, including nomads from the nearby areas started to gather in front of the Monastery,” Geshe Nyendak said. “Reports continuing to trickle out of the region indicate that the situation there is very tense.”

In pictures received by Phayul at the time of filing this report, thousands of Tibetans can be seen carrying pictures of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and protesting.

Charred body of Kalsang Jinpa, 18, who set himself on fire in Rebkong, eastern Tibet on November 8, 2012.
Charred body of Kalsang Jinpa, 18, who set himself on fire in Rebkong, eastern Tibet on November 8, 2012.
In other reports, local Tibetans have also gathered in Dowa town in Rebkong and pulled down Chinese flags from government buildings and schools. The gathered Tibetans are reportedly marching towards Rongwo town raising slogans against the Chinese government.

Rebkong alone has witnessed three self-immolations just this month. Tamding Tso, 23, mother of a six-year-old son passed away in her fiery protest yesterday in Dowa, while Dorjee Lhundup, 25, father of two children, died in his protest on November 4.

In two days, Tibet has witnessed six self-immolations – three in Ngaba, two in Rebkong, and one in Driru. These protests coincide with the Chinese Communist Party’s week-long 18th National Congress, which began today in Beijing. China's heir apparent Xi Jinping will be taking over the mantle of leadership, along with a new team, by the end of the meeting.

The deepening crisis inside Tibet has witnessed large scale anti-China protests and a series of self-immolations that has now seen 69 Tibetans set themselves on fire, since 2009, demanding freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama from exile.
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