Tibetan self-immolator Sonam Rabyang, 42 in an undated photo. (Photo/TCHRD)
DHARAMSHALA, February 20: A year after his self-immolation protest against China’s continued occupation of Tibet, Sonam Rabyang, a Tibetan monk, is reportedly alive but has lost both his legs and is placed under strict surveillance by Chinese authorities.
According to the Dharamshala based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, Sonam Rabyang had both of his legs amputated and is currently recovering at his home in Yuthung Village of Lab region in Tridu, eastern Tibet.
Citing a relative living in exile, who wished to be unnamed, TCHRD said Sonam Rabyang was first taken to an army hospital in the provincial capital of Xining where three months later his legs were amputated.
“Sonam Rabyang is now being cared for by his family members under strict surveillance and restriction,” TCHRD said citing the same source. “He is not allowed to communicate through his phone without the knowledge of the local authorities.”
Sonam Rabyang, 42, a monk from the Lab Monastery set himself on fire
on February 8, 2012 at Triwang town, capital of Tridu in Yulshul.
Eyewitnesses had reported of that Sonam Rabyang was in serious condition when he was taken away by Chinese security personnel. For over a year, no information on his whereabouts or condition was available.
Since 2009, as many as 102 known Tibetans living under China’s rule have set themselves on fire protesting Chinese rule and demanding freedom and return of the Dalai Lama from exile. While an overwhelming majority of the self-immolators have passed away, a surviving few have reportedly suffered amputations of all limbs, verbal abuse, interrogations, and maltreatment by doctors and Chinese officials at the hospitals.
Last month, the Tibet Policy Institute, a think tank affiliated with the exile Tibetan administration in a white paper on the crisis in Tibet noted that the self-immolations were a "stark judgment of Chinese rule in Tibet."
The report titled, Why Tibet is Burning? said China’s policies of political repression, cultural assimilation, social discrimination, environment destruction, economic marginalisation were the principle reasons for Tibet’s fiery protests.