News of Another Self Immolation in Tibet Reaches Outside World

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March protest just confirmed due to communications clampdown in area

Sonam Tso, a mother of five, carried out a self-immolation protest on Wednesday 23 March 2016, in Dzoege County, Ngaba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. News of the protest only emerged from Tibet yesterday due to communication restrictions in the area.

The protest took place around midday near Sera monastery in Dzoege County in Ngaba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. Sonam Tso and her husband, Kalsang Gyaltsen, were walking around the monastery. At one point she asked him to go ahead and said she would join him later. A few minutes later one of the monks heard someone calling for the return of the Dalai Lama and freedom for Tibet. He then saw Sonam Tso on fire and calling out the slogans. He called for help then he and Sonam’s Tso’s husband tried to put out the flames. With the help of another monk named Tsultrim, who was also Sonam Tso’s uncle, they brought her body inside the monastery and arranged a vehicle to take her to hospital. However, she died before they were able to leave the monastery.

Sonam Tso was around 50 years old and the mother of five children, three daughters and two sons. She was from Dotsa village, within the same township as Sera monastery.

Tsultrim was arrested after the protest on charges of having shared information about Sonam Tso’s self-immolation. He was released after eight days in detention and was forced to delete the photograph he had taken of the protest. Kalsang Gyaltsen was also called in for questioning three times.

Sonam Tso’s is the second self-immolation to take place inside Tibet during 2016. The earlier protest was carried out by a monk named Kalsang Wangdu on 29 February 2016. To date, more than 140 Tibetans have set themselves alight protesting China’s rule in Tibet.

Free Tibet director Eleanor Byrne-Rosengren said:

“The time that it has taken for this news to reach us is indicative of the repressive conditions that Tibetans inside Tibet are forced to live under. That same repression is responsible for Sonam Tso’s death. China continues to try and blame the self-immolations on outside influence or to attribute them to non-political causes. It is long past time that other governments and the world’s media were willing to acknowledge the ugly truth: every Tibetan who dies in a self-immolation protest has been killed by China.”

Information confirmed and supplied to Free Tibet by Tibet Watch.

By Alistair Currie
Tibet Watch

Tibetan Woman Dies Of Self Immolation As Chinese Authorities Demolish Houses

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A Tibetan woman became the 142nd Tibetan in Tibet to self immolate in protest of the rule and actions of the Chinese government Thursday night.

The woman, Tashi Kyi, whose age is unknown, self immolated in Ngulra, Gansu Province, eastern Tibet. She died later that night.

The self immolation followed the arrival of 150 police and officials in Ngulra who then began demolishing houses there with bulldozers.

One source reported that the reason given by officials was that the houses did not have valid permits. A number of the house-owners protested, with some physically hanging on to the demolition equipment. Ngulra residents believe Tashi Kyi’s self-immolation was motivated by witnessing the destruction of her village.

“Bulldozers are a suitable symbol of China’s rule in Tibet,” commented Free Tibet director Eleanor Byrne-Rosengren.

“Tibetans’ land is no longer their own and land grabs and destruction of Tibetan property by the authorities are common occurrences. They are also a frequent trigger for protests. Local objections rarely deter the authorities from their actions, however, and protests are frequently met with arrests and violence. There are many causes of self-immolation protests but punishing Tibetans for expressing their legitimate grievances is certainly among them.”

Information supplied by Tibet Watch.

The Self Immolators (pdf eBook)

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“The Self Immolators,” written in 2013 under the pen-name Day Blakely Donaldson.

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“The Self Immolators” was independently printed and distributed in a small limited edition free in 2013.


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