The People’s Record news update: three important Tibetan self-immolation news stories from the last week
February 25, 2013
On Tuesday February 20th, 2013: Two Tibetan teenagers killed themselves by self-immolation on Tuesday to protest Chinese rule in Tibet, according to reports on Wednesday by a Tibet advocacy group and Radio Free Asia. The two were among the youngest Tibetans to kill themselves in protest, and the act was a rare instance in which Tibetans committed self-immolation together.
Reported yesterday: A young Tibetan traditional artist was sentenced to two years in jail with hard labor for having photos on his mobilephone of two compatriots who self-immolated in protest against Chinese rule, according to exile sources Saturday.
Ngawang Thupden, 20, was detained in October last year in Lhasa, the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), but relatives learned of the prison sentence for “subversion” only four months later, the sources said, citing contacts in the Himalayan region.
"His relatives and family couldn’t see him at all until he was sent to the Tuelung Shungpa jail near Lhasa," Tibetan Yeshi Gyaltsen, who lives near India’s hill town of Dharamsala, told RFA’s Tibetan Service. "The relatives said there weren’t any court proceedings nor were family and relatives informed when he was sentenced,” he said.
According to Yeshi Gyaltsen, the relatives said they saw many other Tibetans, from the TAR’s Chamdo (in Chinese, Changdu) and Nagchu (Naqu) prefectures, serving sentences on unspecified charges at the same prison.
Chinese authorities have been cracking down hard on any efforts by Tibetans to publicize self-immolation protests after steps taken by Beijing to stop the burnings failed.
Some 104 Tibetans have so far set themsleves alight in protests questioning Chinese rule in Tibetan majority areas and calling for the return of Tibet’s spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.
Today: Reports coming out of Tibet say a Tibetan man set himself on fire Sunday in China’s northwestern Qinghai province.
The 20-year-old man, identified as Phakmo Thondup, set himself ablaze at Ja Khyung Monastery in Haidong Prefecture, allegedly protesting China’s policies in Tibet.
Reports say monks from the monastery took him to a local hospital to be treated for burns. It was not immediately clear if his life was in danger.
A Tibetan with close contacts in the area tells VOA (Tibetan service) that a large contingent of Chinese security forces were dispatched to the Ja Khyung Monastery where the monks are praying for the victim’s life.
More than 100 Tibetans have set themselves on fire in the past three years to protest what they call China’s repression in Tibet.