Tibetan Man Self-Immolates, Dies in Gansu

CNN reports that a young Tibetan man in Gansu province set himself on fire on Saturday and died, according to a rights group, in what is believed to be the first such incident of 2013:

It was reported by Free Tibet, a London-based organization that campaigns for self-determination for Tibetans, and by the U.S.-based Radio Free Asia.

Free Tibet said the man was 22, while Radio Free Asia put his age at 19.

Details of the death — as has been the case with other such incidents — are sketchy and difficult to verify. Internet content controlled by local authorities makes reliable information almost impossible to come by.

The South China Morning Post relayed more from the reports from Free Tibet and Radio Free Asia:

The body of the man, who was identified with the single name Tsebe, or Tseba, was carried back to his home village about four kilometres away following a protest, Free Tibet said.

The man called out for the Dalai Lama to be allowed to return to Tibet, RFA said.

Free Tibet director Stephanie Brigden said the latest immolation demonstrates “Tibetan rejection of the Chinese occupation is as strong as ever”.

“The new Chinese leadership and the international community cannot allow demands for freedom to continue to go unheeded. This year must be the year where positive change comes to Tibet,” she added.

Meanwhile, Beijing-based artist Liu Yi is working on a series of black-and-white portraits to honor the Tibetans who have set themselves on fire in protest of Beijing’s repressive policies. From The Associated Press, via the South China Morning Post:

Liu wants to paint a portrait of each of the hundred-or-so Tibetans who have self-immolated over the past three years, as a way of bearing witness to one of the biggest waves of fiery protest in recent history.

With each brushstroke, Liu is making a heartfelt plea: the burning must end.

“When I’m painting, I’m thinking: ‘Enough, enough, don’t do this any more. Stop,”‘ said the soft-spoken artist, who has completed 40 portraits so far. “That’s enough.”

Liu is rare among his contemporaries for addressing the largely taboo topic.

Chengdu-born poet and filmmaker Tang Danhong wrote an essay about the self-immolations called “Fire Between Dark and Cold,” which CDT translated. Read more about the self-immolations via CDT.


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