Another Tibetan monk set himself on fire in a restive region in eastern Tibet on Tuesday, making him the 44th individual to do so since February 2009 in protest against the Chinese regime’s occupation of Tibet.
Losang Lozin, 18, died after he set himself on fire and the event was marked by local Tibetans at the Gedhen Tashi Choeling monastery in Barkham, according to Tibetan human rights groups.
Chinese authorities attempted to go inside the monastery to take Lozin’s body “but local Tibetans gathered to prevent them from proceeding,” Free Tibet said. “This human shield aims to prevent the forcible removal of monks such as that which occurred at Kirti Monastery in Ngaba last year.”
Two other monks from the Choeling monastery where Lozin lived set themselves on fire four months ago.
During the incident, Lozin set himself on fire in the monastery and tried to walk while on fire to the township government office, monks told the International Campaign for Tibet group.
“After going only a short way, the flames became fiercer, and Losang Lozin fell to the ground. He died on that spot. While on fire, he uttered many things, but it is not yet clear what these were,” a Tibetan who was not named said in an email to the organization. The monks at the monastery took his body and will cremate it.
Two exiled monks, Lobsang Yeshe and Kanyag Tsering, said Lozin was admitted to the monastery at a young age and served as a “a model student in both his studies and his personal conduct.”
The Central Tibetan Administration said that local Tibetans have also blocked a bridge into Barkham to prevent a large number of Chinese police from entering, out of fears that clashes might erupt between authorities and locals.
Lobsang Sangay, the Tibetan prime minister in exile, told the Washington Post in an exclusive interview last week that the self-immolations are the results of desperation among Tibetans after decades of Chinese communist repression.
“Members of the Communist Party of China dictate what monks and nuns should do, how they should pray, and who should be allowed into the monasteries,” he said.
Sanjay said that he does not endorse Tibetan self-immolations and other “drastic actions by Tibetans.”
In the wake of the self-immolations, China has cracked down harder in Tibetan areas, even cutting off electricity and telecommunications in some areas to prevent the spread of information.
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