By Phuntsok Yangchen
DHARAMSHALA, May 21: Chinese authorities in Zogang County in Chamdo have arrested an uncle of Phakpa Gyaltsen, a Tibetan who stabbed himself and plunged to his death from a building to protest mining operations in Tongbar village this month.
Jampa Choephel, uncle of Phakpa Gyaltsen, was detained five days after Phakpa’s death. The exact reasons for his arrest is not clear. After Phakpa’s death his kids were looked after by his uncle Jampa Choephel.
Phakpa Gyaltsen, 32, reportedly told local Tibetans that he would do something to express the Tibetans’ collective opposition to the mining activities in the area.
Gyaltsen climbed onto a high building at the town center, and called out for Tibetan freedom before officials tried to stop his protest. When the police tried to stop him he stabbed himself twice and jumped off the building, dying instantly.
Chinese had started mining operations at a site near Madok Tso called Ache Jema two months ago by claiming that they were building a dam. Local Tibetans, however, knew about the actual plans of mining in the area and decided to thwart the plan by taking turns to guard the area. Some of the Tibetans guarding the site were arrested but later released.