A young Tibetan man set himself on fire to protest Chinese occupation of Tibetan territory recently, becoming the 43rd person documented to have done so since February 2009. It is unknown whether he died or not.
The man in his early 20s, Tsewang Dorjee, first shouted slogans in support of Tibet’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, before igniting himself in Damshung, which is located in the Lhasa prefecture, sources told Radio Free Asia (RFA) and The Tibet Post.
Self-immolations are rare in the Tibetan Autonomous Region (most of the 43 occurred in China), but there has been an increase in these incidents in the past few months. “He was able to walk about 100 meters (110 yards) with his body on fire before falling down,” a source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told RFA.
Ven Ngawang Woebar, a former political prisone,r who is living in exile in Dharamshala, told the pro-Tibet publication Phayul that police arrived and took Dorjee to a hospital in the city of Lhasa. “Ninety percent of his body was reported to be burnt,” Woebar said.
“No one was allowed to meet him after his protest. Reports suggest that Tsewang Dorjee passed away later that night,” the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile in Dharamshala stated, according to The Tibet Post.
The reports also suggest that the entire Damshung region, which lies between Lhasa and Nagchu, has been under heavy security. All forms of communication are being strictly monitored by the Chinese regime to prevent the spread of information about the self-immolation. Some people who witnessed the man’s self-immolation have been arrested, according to the Post.A source told RFA, “All phone lines are cut off and those in Lhasa City cannot reach their contacts in Damshung.” But, a local police officer in Damshung denied the incident even occurred, according to RFA.
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