Tibetan burnings continue as China enforces ban on self-immolation

Six Tibetans have died of protest self-immolation in Tibet since local Chinese authorities in Malho (Ch: Huangnan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province, began implementing a new campaign, inaugurated through a publicly issued notification on 14 November to ban and punish self-immolations.

Among them, Wangyal, in his 20s, died after setting himself on fire at Serta (Ch: Seda) County in Kardze (Ch: Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province. On 26 November, Wangyal died of protest self-immolation and government officials took away his body, sources told TCHRD.

The same day as Wangyal, on 26 November, another Tibetan, Konchok Tsering, died after his burning protest in front of a mining site at Amchok Township in Sangchu (Ch: Xiahe), County of Kanlho (Ch: Gannan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu Province. He left behind a family of four: his father Tsepak Kyap, 40, mother Gonpo Tso, 37, and two brothers. Sources say local Tibetans gathered in large numbers to hold prayers for the deceased at Amchok Monastery.

The 14 November public notification has mobilized all levels of local government and Party offices in Malho Prefecture particularly in Rebkong (Ch: Tongren) County to enforce the ban on self-immolations and punish the families of self-immolators and the villages they live in.

Sources told TCHRD that government officials and cadres of Dowa Township, Thunding County and Malho Prefecture have obtained signed statements from village officials and leaders to prevent any self-immolation under their jurisdiction. From now onwards, each household will be made to sign a statement not to do any self-immolation. Those who refuse to sign such statements will attract immediate detention.

In Dokarmo Township in Rebkong County, two Tibetans, a nun and a nomad, died of self-immolation within three days. On 25 November, at around 7 pm (local time), nun Sangay Dolma of Gonshul Nunnery from Bharkor Village in Dokarmo Township died after setting herself on fire at Tsekhog County, the seat of the County government office. She died at the scene.

On 23 November, Tibetans Tamdin Dorjee, 29, set himself on fire at around 6.30 pm (local time) in front of the Township government office in Dokarmo Township. Sources say Tamdin Dorjee held his hands in praying gesture and shouted for the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He was from Mekor Village in Dokarmo Township. Hundreds of Tibetans, both monks and lay, gathered to hold prayers including special long life prayers for His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

The same day, another Tibetan, Tamdrin Kyab, 23, a former monk at Shitsang monastery set fire to himself at around 10 pm near the Luchu river in Pheygar Village in Luchu (Ch: Luqu) Township of Kanlho (Ch:Gannan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu Province. Kyap’s protest elf-immolation happened at night and his charred body was found the next morning by local Tibetans who took it to Shitsang Monastery where monks conducted prayers and cremation rituals.

On 22 November, Lubum Tsering, 19, set himself on fire at around 4.20 pm (local time) and died at Dowa Township in Rebkong County. In defiance of the notification, monks from Dowa Monastery, along with lay Tibetans, carried the body to the monastery where prayers and cremation rituals were held. Lubum left behind his father, Tsego a.k.a. Mag Tsego, who is 60.

Days before Lubum’s protest on 22 November, Public Security Bureau and People’s Armed Police officers, carrying rifles and other weapons, came to Dowa town to enforce the notification, putting restrictions on local Tibetans. About 30 military trucks came into Dowa town, but 11 of them later left.

On the day of Lubum’s protest, seven military trucks with armed police returned to Dowa and stopped the local Tibetans at Bonkhog bridge. The Tibetans were on their way to offer prayers and condolences to the family members and relatives of Lubum Tsering. Some Tibetans, evading armed police, took the longer route over the mountains and managed to visit Lubum’s family.

On 15 November, two monks from Dowa Monastery, went missing after their detention, along with some other unidentified Tibetans at a place called Bhonpo Nyagkha in Dowa Township. The monks, Tsundue Choedhen, 17, and Konchok Sonam, 21, were on their way to Malho from Dowa when they were detained. Both monks belong to Khagya Village. Tsundue was son of Khando and Kuley. Konchok Sonam’s name is Soelay and mother ‘s name is Yangkey.

Restrictions on Internet and phone lines are reported from Rebkong, Serta, and Sangchu. In Rebkong, where Internet connection has been cut off, relevant police and state security officials are questioning those who had contacted through phone and Internet.

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