DHARAMSHALA, November 23: In no respite to the spate of self-immolations inside Tibet, another Tibetan teenager passed away in his fiery protest Thursday, November 22.
In confirmed reports received by Phayul, Lubum Gyal, 18, set himself ablaze in Dowa town of Rebkong, eastern Tibet at around 4:20 pm (local time) in an apparent protest against China’s continued occupation of Tibet.
China’s state-run Xinhua news agency also reported on the incident, confirming that the self-immolator (Libong Tsering) succumbed to his injuries.
“Lubum Gyal set himself on fire in protest against the Chinese government in Dowa town,” Sonam, an exile Tibetan with close contacts in the region told Phayul. “Soon, a large number of Tibetans gathered and rescued his body from falling into the hands of Chinese authorities.”
“Monks from the Dowa Monastery later carried out the last rites of Lubum Gyal at a nearby crematorium,” Sonam added.
According to the same source, the recent deployment of large numbers of Chinese armed forces and the severe restrictions placed on local Tibetans triggered Lubum Gyal’s fiery protest.
“Following the recent escalation in self-immolations and protests in Dowa and the adjoining regions, Chinese security personnel armed with automatic guns have forced strict restrictions on the movement of Tibetans,” Sonam cited sources as saying. “Moreover, higher ranked Chinese government and Communist Party officials have been paying frequent trips to Dowa to investigate the reasons behind the protests and to assure that no more protests take place in the region.”
The Chinese officials were reportedly implementing the five-point notification
issued by the Malho Prefectural office and Malho People’s government on November 14 giving stern orders to local officials “to punish self-immolators and their families; even those who had offered condolences and prayers to the bereaved family members and relatives.”
The notice, issued in Tibetan and Chinese languages, announces the cancellation of government aid to families of self-immolators as well as development projects in villages where similar protests have taken place.
Lubum Gyal is survived by his father Tsego.
The Rebkong region of Malho has now witnessed ten self-immolation protests in this month alone. Also, thousands of Tibetans, including school children, carried out massive protests calling for freedom and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama earlier this month.
79 Tibetans have now set themselves on fire in Tibet since 2009.