DHARAMSHALA, November 10: A teenaged Tibetan man passed away in his self-immolation protest in eastern Tibet on Saturday, AFP
said citing China’s state news agency Xinhua
The 18-year-old became the seventh Tibetan to set himself on fire in the last four days, making this the deadliest week since the wave of self-immolation protests began in 2009.
Now, 70 Tibetans have set themselves ablaze, protesting China’s continued occupation of Tibet and demanding the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and freedom in Tibet.
According to Xinhua
, Chinese provincial governmen
t officials have identified the man as Gonpo Tsering. AFP
quoted Xinhua as saying that Gonpo Tsering carried out his fiery protest at 2:00 pm (local time) in the city of Tsoe (Ch: Hezuo) in Kanlho region of eastern Tibet. The report added that the “case was being investigated.”
It must be noted that Tibetan sources in exile have not reported on today’s protest. Usually, Tibetans in exile are the first to provide details on incidents inside Tibet.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, an exile Tibetan with strong links in Tibet told Phayul that communication lines in Tibet are either not working or have been severely restricted.
“Phone lines in many areas that I have tried to contact are down or are being received by other people,” the exile Tibetan said. “People fear that all their conversations are being listened.”
Off late, several Tibetans have been disappeared, arrested, and sentenced to lengthy jail terms on charges of sending information on the self-immolation protests and contacting outsiders.
The alarming escalation in self-immolations this week coincides with the Chinese Communist Party’s weeklong 18th National Congress, which began Thursday in Beijing. The meeting is expected to end with the transfer of power to Vice President Xi Jinping, who will govern the country for a decade.
On Thursday, Tamding Tso
, a 23-year-old mother of one, passed away in her self-immolation protest in Rebkong. The same day, three teenaged monks
of the Ngoshul Monastery in Ngaba region set themselves on fire in a triple self-immolation protest. Dorjee, 15 passed away in his protest, while the condition of Samdup, 16, and Dorjee Kyab, 16, remains unknown. Also on that day, an unidentified Tibetan man passed away in his self-immolation protest in Driru.
On Friday, 18-year-old nomad, Kalsang Jinpa
, set himself on fire at the Dolma Square in front of the Rongwo Monastery in Rebkong, after raising a white banner with 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.
Thousands of Tibetans, including school student
s, took part in massive rallies and led protests against the Chinese government in Rebkong following the self-immolations.