Tibetan Woman Torches Herself

Yet another Tibetan has set fire to herself in Aba county, Sichuan. According to Radio Free Asia’s count, the young woman is the 38th Tibetan to self-immolate in protest of Beijing’s Tibet policies:

Rikyo, a 33-year-old mother of three children, torched herself on Wednesday afternoon near a monastery in Dzamthang (in Chinese, Rangtang) county in the Ngaba (Aba) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, the epicenter of the burnings which began in February 2009.

Her self-immolation brings to 38 the number of burnings so far protesting Chinese rule in Tibetan-populated areas and calling for the return of Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

[…]Nearly all the self-immolations so far have taken place in Sichuan and in two other Tibetan-populated provinces in western China—Qinghai and Gansu—as Tibetans question Chinese policies which they say are discriminatory and have robbed them of their rights.

This most recent case comes just three days after Lhasa witnessed its first self-immolation. Another article from Radio Free Asia reports on heightened security in the Tibetan capital:

Chinese security forces in Lhasa have rounded up hundreds of residents and pilgrims in the wake of a fiery weekend self-immolation protest in Tibet’s capital, as the Tibetan burnings in protest against Chinese rule rage on, sources said.

Locals detained are being held in detention centers in and around Lhasa while many of those from outside the Tibet Autonomous Region have been expelled, sources said, with one estimating that about 600 Tibetans had been detained so far.

[…]On May 27, foreign tourists found at the self-immolation site were taken quickly back to their hotels and their cameras were thoroughly searched, and some were told to leave Tibet, he said.

Radio Free Asia also has news of a petition that an anonymous Tibetan monastic has sent to the EU:

A Tibetan monk living in western China has sent a petition to the European Parliament defending a recent wave of self-immolation protests against Chinese rule and appealing for Europe’s help in restoring Tibetan freedoms and securing the return of exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

The 21-page document, a copy of which was obtained by RFA, quotes extensively from an unpublished book, The Black Annals, written by a Tibetan monk and schoolteacher, Atsun Tsondru Gyatso, who disappeared in Chinese custody more than a year ago.

The petition, written as though sent on Gyatso’s behalf, was dated May 18 and was sent anonymously from inside the Yulshul Tibetan prefecture of China’s Qinghai province, passing through several hands before arriving in Switzerland for delivery to EU officials.

Also see prior CDT coverage of Tibet protests and the ongoing wave of self-immolation in Tibetan regions of China.


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