Wangchen Kyi,a 17-year-old girl in Tongren (Rebkong), Qinghai, set herself on fire today in the latest self-immolation. VOA reports:
Sources tell VOA that Wangchen shouted slogans calling for the long life of the Dalai Lama and long life of Tibet.
More than 3,000 Tibetans and monks are reported to have gathered at the site of the self-immolation protest to recite prayers.
Sources say two trucks of Chinese armed police arrived and forcibly dispersed the gathered crowd and asked them to return to their homes. Wanchen Kyi’s body was cremated around midnight. She is survived by her father Sonam Tsering and mother Sermo, and two other siblings.
Reuters looks at how the surge of self-immolations – at least 95 since 2009 – has succeeded and failed to effect change:
Self-immolations have historically only been effective in achieving political concessions when carried out under weak governments, but they have increased solidarity within parts of the Tibetan community, [Columbia University Tibet scholar Robert] Barnett said.
“It hasn’t been effective in getting any change in policy, but it has been effective in mobilizing sentiment within the Tibetan community inside Tibet,” he said.
The long lines of people going to pay respects and donate money to the families of people who have immolated are evidence of this, Barnett said. China’s new regulations aim to suppress this practice.
But Barnett said Tibetans, including the exiled government in India, are playing the “politics of sympathy”, a tactic that makes powerful symbolic statements, but does little to articulate coherent and urgent policy demands.
As part of a government crackdown on those found to be somehow involved with the self-immolations, the official media announced the arrest of a monk and his nephew for allegedly “encouraging” self-immolations. From Xinhua:
Lorang Konchok, a 40-year-old monk at the Kirti Monastery
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