Another Tibetan man set himself on fire to protest Chinese rule, and ran at a group of plainclothes police officers in western Gansu Province over the weekend. It was the fifth self-immolation in a month.
Nearly 60 Tibetans have set themselves ablaze since 2009, and the frequency of the self-immolations has only increased in the past year. Tibet’s leaders in exile have essentially condemned the practice, saying there are too few Tibetans inside China to be giving up their lives so easily.
Lhamo Kyab, 27, and a father of two, set himself on fire near the Bora monastery and died in the incident, according to the International Campaign for Tibet, or Save Tibet, rights group, which cited local Tibetans in the area.
“The same sources said that police tried to put out the flames, and a local man took off his shirt and tried to fling it over Lhamo Kyab but the blaze was too strong,” the rights group said. He shouted slogans against Chinese rule.
Locals took the man’s body to Bora monastery after “some tension” between them and Chinese security forces, Save Tibet added.
An unnamed Tibetan source told Radio Free Asia that Kyab attempted to run to the Bora monastery while he was on fire.
“When he encountered some policemen in plainclothes, who were pretending to circumambulate [walk around] the monastery and tried to stop him, he charged at them,” the source continued. “They avoided him.”
Bora monastery was the site of mass protests earlier this year where more than 100 monks marched to local government buildings.
On Sunday, the exiled Tibetan government reacted to Kyab’s self-immolation, and called for a coordinated global effort to end the crisis.
“The tragic self-immolations by Tibetans would stop only if the Chinese government address their genuine and long-standing grievances, and find a lasting solution to the problem of Tibet through dialogue,” Kalon Dicki Chhoyang, with the Central Tibetan administration, said in a statement.
The Chinese regime has stepped up security in Tibetan regions, likely due to the impending 18th National Party Congress that will see a change in key leadership positions in the ruling Communist Party. Chinese authorities have cracked down on dissent across the country ahead of its largest national conclave.
Rights group Free Tibet said the frequency of the self-immolations has taken place at an unprecedented rate, with Tibetans protesting in this manner for more than 18 months, terming it the Tibet Spring.
“As news of the protests and self-immolation has spread, more and more Tibetans are prepared to risk imprisonment by sharing photos and videos to make sure the world sees what is happening in their country,” it said.
There are more Chinese security forces deployed in key Tibetan areas, including Lhasa, the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Prefecture, and hundreds of people have been reported missing or arrested, Free Tibet said. The self-immolations will continue to take place unless the Chinese regime addresses Tibetans’ underlying rights issues, it added.
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