Tibetan Nomad Self-Immolates in Qinghai

A Tibetan nomad died after setting fire to himself in Qinghai province. This is the latest case in a wave of similar protests that started in 2009 when a monk named Tapey self-immolated during the Tibetan New Year festival of Losar. Since March of 2011, this trend has been gaining momentum, and the Tibetan Autonomous Region is currently closed to foreign tourists due to sensitivity after the capital city of Lhasa saw its first self-immolations late last month. Voice of America reports:

A Tibetan nomad has died after setting himself on fire in a remote region of northwestern China in protest of Chinese rule.

[…] A friend of the man who set himself on fire said the man was in his late-50s. He is believed to be the oldest person to self-immolate among the dozens of Tibetans who have done so since 2009 to protest Beijing’s policies in Tibet.

China’s official Xinhua news agency confirmed a person died of self-immolation Friday in Qinghai province but gave no details.

The New York Times has more details on the nomad, his remains, and local reaction to the incident:

The herder, Tamdin Thar, who was thought to be in his early 60s, self-immolated in front of a police compound in Markethang, a county seat in the Huangnan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, according to the group Free Tibet. Radio Free Asia said security forces immediately extinguished the flames but the man died a short time later.

A crowd of several hundred people, including Buddhist monks and local residents, quickly gathered at center of town and demanded that the police hand over his body, according to Radio Free Asia and Free Tibet.

The authorities, they said, eventually complied, returning Tamdin Thar’s body to his family, who then brought it to a nearby monastery in preparation for his funeral.

The Center for Human Rights and Democracy notes that Tamdin Thar’s nomadic family was forced into a stationary lifestyle years ago as part of China’s nomad relocation policy.
Also see prior CDT coverage of Tibetan protests, self-immolation, and China’s nomadic population.
Open popup

Welcome back!

CDT is a non-profit media site, and we need your support. Your contribution will help us provide more translations, breaking news, and other content you love.