Tibetan self-immolator Rinchen, 17, in an undated photo.
DHARAMSHALA, February 20: Two Tibetan teenagers set themselves on fire in Kyangtsa region of Zoege, eastern Tibet on February 19, protesting China’s continued occupation and repressive policies in Tibet.
Rinchen, 17 and Sonam Dhargey, 18 have succumbed to their burns.
According to the exile base of Kirti Monastery in Dharamshala, the two teenagers carried out their fiery protest at around 9:30 pm (local time) yesterday.
“It is not currently known what slogans they raised during the protest,” Kirti Monastery in a release said.
“The families of the two teenagers are in possession of their bodies and are hoping to carry out their final rites without any interference from the Chinese authorities.”
Rinchen's parents are Dhondup Tsering and late Aadon. Sonam Dhargye's parents are Tsering Dhondup and Takho.
Confirming the reports, the Dharamshala based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy today said both Rinchen and Sonam Dhargye attended the local primary school in Kyangtsa.
“After finishing his primary school, Rinchen attended another school in Wenchuan for a few years and moved to Qinghai, where he worked,” TCHRD said. “At the time of self-immolation, Rinchen was on his Losar (New Year) holiday visiting his family in Kyangtsa.”
With the latest self-immolations, as many as 104 known Tibetans living under China’s rule have now set themselves on fire demanding freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama from exile. Eight fiery protests have already taken place inside Tibet since the beginning of the new year, in addition to Tibetan monk Drupchen Tsering's self-immolation protest
in Kathmandu, Nepal on February 13.
The global rights group Human Rights Watch earlier this month said the self-immolations in Tibet are taking place in the context of the Chinese government’s "long-standing repressive policies in the Tibetan areas that have seen severe restrictions on Tibetans’ rights.”
“To date there has still been no concerted effort from the Chinese government to address the underlying grievances in Tibet, which have contributed to the rising number of self-immolations by Tibetans,” HRW said.