Tibetan Self-Immolation Toll Reaches 114

On March 28, Phayul.com reported that the Tibetan Government in Exile’s confirmation of two Tibetan self-immolations from April of last year:

Forty-five-year-old Thupten Nyendak of Dragkar Monastery in Lhagang in Kham, Eastern Tibet, and Atse, 23, from Serta Tibetan Buddhist Institute set themselves on fire at the former’s residence in Dzogchen Monastery on 6 April 2012. This reportedly happened after they offered butter lamps and prayers for all the Tibetan.

“As a Tibetan and Buddhist, we offer prayer for 113 Tibetans who self-immolated in Tibet, out of which we have been saying 83 [took place] in 2012. But now it is [confirmed] 85 in 2012 and 95 have died,” said Dr Lobsang Sangay, the prime minister of exile Tibet.

Today, Phayul.com reports on another recent case, bringing the toll of self-immolations in Tibetan areas of China to 114. Along with two earlier reported cases, this is the third reported case of self-immolation in protest of Chinese rule this week.

A monk from Mogri Monastery in Luchu in Eastern Tibet has set himself on fire in an apparent protest against China’s continuing occupation of Tibet.

“Kunchok Tenzin set himself ablaze at a road intersection near his monastery at 7pm (local time) on Tuesday, March 26,” said Kanyag Tsering of Dharamsala-based Kirti Monastery, who closely monitors inside Tibet.

Twenty-eight-year-old Tenzin died in his fiery protest.

[…]China’s media blackout and severe security clampdown in Tibet are some of the reasons why the news of Kunchok Tenzin’s self-immolation took two days to get out.

The ongoing wave of fiery protest has prompted a controversial crackdown – authorities have been detaining those accused of “inciting innocent people to commit self-immolation,” and enhancing surveillance in Tibetan areas under Chinese rule. Radio Free Asia reports on an official document identifying prohibited behavior that has been circulating the Tibetan Autonomous Region and Qinghai  province:

Prohibitions listed in the document are aimed at “strengthening the protection of social stability and maintaining discipline by cracking down on unlawful activities in the relevant areas,” the document, written in Tibetan, says.

Activities now forbidden include fundraising “in the name of social welfare,” urging protection of the environment or the Tibetan language, and conducting prayer rituals or other religious ceremonies if these carry “overtones” of support for Tibetan independence.

Other unlawful activities listed as unlawful include “intimidating” government officials, inciting self-immolation protests, obstructing the “rescue” of self-immolators by Chinese security forces, and sending images or information about self-immolations to “outside separatist forces.”

The list particularly bars Tibetans from “taking pictures and filming the actual scene of self-immolation and mass gatherings” and “providing secret information to separatist forces,” apparently referring to Tibetan exile groups.

Also see prior CDT coverage of self-immolation and Tibetan protest.

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