Grandfather of Tibetan Religious Figure Self-Immolates
By Jack Phillips On October 14, 2012 @ 5:46 pm In Democracy & Human Rights | No Comments
An elderly Tibetan man who is the grandfather of a Tibetan Buddhist religious figure set himself on fire in northern China in the the latest self-immolation to hit the region in recent months, according to rights groups.
Tamdin Dorjee, 52, died in the fiery protest on Saturday against repressive Chinese Communist Party rule outside of a monastery in Gansu Province, said two rights groups. He is believed to be the grandfather of a spiritual leader who Tibetan Buddhists say is the reincarnation of the seventh Gungthang Rinpoche.
Well over 50 Tibetans, many of whom were monks and nuns, have set themselves on fire since February 2009 to protest Communist Party rule. Exiled Tibetan leaders have often condemned the self-immolations. Tibetans have said the Chinese regime has essentially stamped out their religion, culture, language, and violated their rights.
The body Dorjee, who carried out the self-immolation at the Tso monastery in Tso City, “was removed to his home village,” Free Tibet, a human rights group, said. “Security forces have moved into the area and intense restrictions are in place.”
Earlier this year at the same location, a Tibetan mother of two set herself on fire to protest Chinese rule.
The International Campaign for Tibet said they obtained images from Tibetan exiles showing Chinese “troops converging on the area, and Tibetans taking Tamdin Dorje’s body for cremation.”
“The Chinese police also arrived at the home village of Tamdin Dorjee. They had already put restrictions on phones and other lines of communication,” one source told Radio Free Asia.
The Chinese regime’s repression over Tibetan areas has escalated in recent months in an attempt to curb the spread of information relating to the self-immolations. The International Campaign for Tibet said that Chinese authorities in Tso City and outlying Tibetan areas will likely step up security in the area.
“The self-immolation today is likely to be noted with concern by the authorities due to the connection to the young lama recognized as the [seventh] Gungthang Rinpoche,” the rights group said.
Weeks ago, Tibetan exiles told residents inside of China to put an end to the self-immolations because “Tibet is a thinly populated country, and in the present situation losing even one life is a great loss for the Tibetan people.”
“Please preserve your lives in the future,” they added.
Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders said more than a week ago that Chinese officials have denied journalists from accessing Tibetan areas, while “cutting communications temporarily or permanently, is making it very hard to circulate information.”
“The only people providing or relaying information there are the Tibetan citizens themselves, who take great risks to get reports, photos or video footage to the outside world,” it added.
In September, courts in Sichuan Province sentenced four Tibetans, including three monks, to long jail terms for giving contacts outside of China with information about the self-immolations and the regime’s crackdown, according to the watchdog.
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