Tibetan teenager was 8th child to self-immolate to protest Chinese ruleDecember 10, 2012

A teenage girl set herself on fire on the grasslands of an ethnic Tibetan region in western China, becoming the eighth child to self-immolate to protest Chinese rule over the region, rights groups said.
Wangchen Kyi, 17, self-immolated and died in China’s western Qinghai province Sunday evening after calling for the long life of the Tibetan people and their exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, according to the Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet. The group cited reports from exiled Tibetans in contact with people in the area.
Activists say more than 90 people have set themselves on fire in Tibetan areas since February 2009, with an upsurge in recent weeks. The vast majority have been in their late teens and 20s. Activists say the self-immolations show growing desperation over what the protesters see as the marginalization of Tibetan culture and religion under heavy-handed Chinese rule.


China maintains it protects Tibetans’ rights and that the region has enjoyed “leap-frog” economic development in recent decades. Beijing has increasingly sought to crack down on the protests, which it says are inhumane acts instigated from abroad by the Dalai Lama and his supporters.
The Tibetan government-in-exile on Monday reiterated denials of involvement and publicly invited Chinese authorities to send an team to their headquarters in Dharamsala, India, to investigate the allegations.
Tibet and surrounding ethnically Tibetan regions have been closed off to most outsiders, and firsthand information from the areas is extremely difficult to obtain.
London-based Free Tibet also reported the latest immolation, which took place in Dokar Mo township in Zeku county, but said the student was 16 and gave a slightly different spelling for her name. Free Tibet said an estimated 3,000 locals attended her cremation service and that she leaves behind her parents and two sisters.
The Zeku county propaganda department on Tuesday confirmed the self-immolation, but gave no details. Calls to Dokar Mo township’s government and to the county police department rang unanswered.
The International Campaign for Tibet said Wangchen Kyi was a conscientious student and chose to set herself on fire on nomadic grasslands because she feared her body would not be returned to her family if she self-immolated outside a government building in the town.
According to tallies by both rights groups, she is the eighth person under 18 to self-immolate. Four are known to have died, including the youngest, a 15-year-old monk called Dorjee. He set himself on fire last month along with two 16-year-old monks in Aba prefecture in southwestern Sichuan province.
Police in that province announced the arrest over the weekend of a monk and his nephew on accusations of inciting at least eight Tibetans to conduct self-immolation protests, allegedly recruiting them with assurances they would be “heroes” and that they and their families would be “honored” afterward.
Recent Chinese media reports have said that such instigators could be charged with murder, but it was not immediately clear if the monk and his nephew would face those charges. Police in Sichuan declined to comment on the case.
A U.S. statement last week accused Beijing of responding to Tibetan immolations with tightened controls over their freedom of religion, expression and assembly. China’s Foreign Ministry said it had complained to Washington about the comments and said China protects the rights of Tibetan people to maintain their traditional culture and religious freedom.
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Tibetan teenager was 8th child to self-immolate to protest Chinese rule
December 10, 2012

A teenage girl set herself on fire on the grasslands of an ethnic Tibetan region in western China, becoming the eighth child to self-immolate to protest Chinese rule over the region, rights groups said.

Wangchen Kyi, 17, self-immolated and died in China’s western Qinghai province Sunday evening after calling for the long life of the Tibetan people and their exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, according to the Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet. The group cited reports from exiled Tibetans in contact with people in the area.

Activists say more than 90 people have set themselves on fire in Tibetan areas since February 2009, with an upsurge in recent weeks. The vast majority have been in their late teens and 20s. Activists say the self-immolations show growing desperation over what the protesters see as the marginalization of Tibetan culture and religion under heavy-handed Chinese rule.

China maintains it protects Tibetans’ rights and that the region has enjoyed “leap-frog” economic development in recent decades. Beijing has increasingly sought to crack down on the protests, which it says are inhumane acts instigated from abroad by the Dalai Lama and his supporters.

The Tibetan government-in-exile on Monday reiterated denials of involvement and publicly invited Chinese authorities to send an team to their headquarters in Dharamsala, India, to investigate the allegations.

Tibet and surrounding ethnically Tibetan regions have been closed off to most outsiders, and firsthand information from the areas is extremely difficult to obtain.

London-based Free Tibet also reported the latest immolation, which took place in Dokar Mo township in Zeku county, but said the student was 16 and gave a slightly different spelling for her name. Free Tibet said an estimated 3,000 locals attended her cremation service and that she leaves behind her parents and two sisters.

The Zeku county propaganda department on Tuesday confirmed the self-immolation, but gave no details. Calls to Dokar Mo township’s government and to the county police department rang unanswered.

The International Campaign for Tibet said Wangchen Kyi was a conscientious student and chose to set herself on fire on nomadic grasslands because she feared her body would not be returned to her family if she self-immolated outside a government building in the town.

According to tallies by both rights groups, she is the eighth person under 18 to self-immolate. Four are known to have died, including the youngest, a 15-year-old monk called Dorjee. He set himself on fire last month along with two 16-year-old monks in Aba prefecture in southwestern Sichuan province.

Police in that province announced the arrest over the weekend of a monk and his nephew on accusations of inciting at least eight Tibetans to conduct self-immolation protests, allegedly recruiting them with assurances they would be “heroes” and that they and their families would be “honored” afterward.

Recent Chinese media reports have said that such instigators could be charged with murder, but it was not immediately clear if the monk and his nephew would face those charges. Police in Sichuan declined to comment on the case.

A U.S. statement last week accused Beijing of responding to Tibetan immolations with tightened controls over their freedom of religion, expression and assembly. China’s Foreign Ministry said it had complained to Washington about the comments and said China protects the rights of Tibetan people to maintain their traditional culture and religious freedom.

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Four Tibetans self-immolate to protest Chinese ruleNovember 28, 2012
Four more ethnic Tibetans have self-immolated to protest Chinese rule and at least 20 were hospitalized after clashing with police in a protest over a government booklet calling the Tibetan language irrelevant, a report and exile groups said Tuesday.
More than 80 Tibetans in China have set themselves on fire since 2009 in protest against what overseas supporters say is China’s strict control over Tibet’s Buddhist culture and a suffocating security presence in Tibetan regions.
Four more self-immolations were reported Sunday and Monday in Gansu, Sichuan and Qinghai provinces.
At least 20 students were hospitalized Monday after a protest turned violent in Qinghai province’s Hainan prefecture, U.S. broadcaster Radio Free Asia said in an emailed statement that cited Tibetan exile sources who were in touch with Hainan residents. London-based exile group Free Tibet said up to 1,000 students took part in the demonstration.
Radio Free Asia said students were angry over a booklet distributed at Tsolho Medical Institute in Hainan that called Tibetan irrelevant and condemned immolation protests by Tibetans as “acts of stupidity.” It said students burned the books in their protest.
Hainan government and police officials referred calls to other departments where the phone rang unanswered on Tuesday.
The broadcaster also quoted anonymous sources inside China’s Tibetan areas as saying teenaged nun Sangay Dolmas died from self-immolation on Sunday in Qinghai’s Tongren county. On Monday, 18-year-old Kunchok Tsering died after burning himself in Gansu province’s Xiahe county while in Sichuan’s Seda country a 20-year-old former monk, Wang Gyal, self-immolated though his condition was not immediately known, it said.
Also Monday, in Gansu province’s Luqu county, 24-year-old Gonpo Tsering died after setting himself ablaze, the report said.
The Washington, D.C.-based International Campaign for Tibet said that as of Monday the toll in China’s Tibetan areas from self-immolations had reached 84, though the organization’s count did not include Gonpo Tsering.
Most of the protesters have doused themselves with gasoline and set themselves alight after shouting slogans calling for Tibetan independence and blessings for the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled Buddhist leader. China blames him for encouraging the wave of self-immolations that Beijing has apparently been powerless to stop despite stepped-up security and an extensive spying network.
Independent verification of events and conditions in Tibet is nearly impossible because of restrictions on travel.
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Four Tibetans self-immolate to protest Chinese rule
November 28, 2012

Four more ethnic Tibetans have self-immolated to protest Chinese rule and at least 20 were hospitalized after clashing with police in a protest over a government booklet calling the Tibetan language irrelevant, a report and exile groups said Tuesday.

More than 80 Tibetans in China have set themselves on fire since 2009 in protest against what overseas supporters say is China’s strict control over Tibet’s Buddhist culture and a suffocating security presence in Tibetan regions.

Four more self-immolations were reported Sunday and Monday in Gansu, Sichuan and Qinghai provinces.

At least 20 students were hospitalized Monday after a protest turned violent in Qinghai province’s Hainan prefecture, U.S. broadcaster Radio Free Asia said in an emailed statement that cited Tibetan exile sources who were in touch with Hainan residents. London-based exile group Free Tibet said up to 1,000 students took part in the demonstration.

Radio Free Asia said students were angry over a booklet distributed at Tsolho Medical Institute in Hainan that called Tibetan irrelevant and condemned immolation protests by Tibetans as “acts of stupidity.” It said students burned the books in their protest.

Hainan government and police officials referred calls to other departments where the phone rang unanswered on Tuesday.

The broadcaster also quoted anonymous sources inside China’s Tibetan areas as saying teenaged nun Sangay Dolmas died from self-immolation on Sunday in Qinghai’s Tongren county. On Monday, 18-year-old Kunchok Tsering died after burning himself in Gansu province’s Xiahe county while in Sichuan’s Seda country a 20-year-old former monk, Wang Gyal, self-immolated though his condition was not immediately known, it said.

Also Monday, in Gansu province’s Luqu county, 24-year-old Gonpo Tsering died after setting himself ablaze, the report said.

The Washington, D.C.-based International Campaign for Tibet said that as of Monday the toll in China’s Tibetan areas from self-immolations had reached 84, though the organization’s count did not include Gonpo Tsering.

Most of the protesters have doused themselves with gasoline and set themselves alight after shouting slogans calling for Tibetan independence and blessings for the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled Buddhist leader. China blames him for encouraging the wave of self-immolations that Beijing has apparently been powerless to stop despite stepped-up security and an extensive spying network.

Independent verification of events and conditions in Tibet is nearly impossible because of restrictions on travel.

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China Forbids International Tourism to Tibet Indefinitely

June 7, 2012

Chinese authorities alerted foreign travel agencies Tuesday that they would no longer be issuing entry permits to Tibet, the latest in a series of regulations being put on travelers to Tibet. The announcement follows the self-immolation of two Tibetans last week.

Tibet is no stranger to Chinese interference in its tourism industry. Tibet’s failed rebellion in March 1959 and the event’s annual memorial on National Uprising Day has chronically put the region at odds with the People’s Republic of China. In 2008, protests after National Uprising Day turned into riots that were met with violence by PRC forces. The Chinese government temporarily closed Tibet to foreign visitors. That is a now-annual practice in March, and during other national events significant to the Chinese government.

Now, many are saying that the latest in a string of Tibetan self-immolations led to the country’s shutdown to outsiders. According to Free Tibet, a campaign promoting Tibetan independence from China, there have been more than 30 self-immolations since March 2011. Most recently, on May 27, 2012 two Tibetans were the first to set themselves on fire in Lhasa, Tibet’s tightly-controlled administrative capital. The shutdown also coincides with the Saga Dawa festival, which celebrates the Buddha’s birth and draws many Buddhists to Tibet. This year, the festival began on June 4, which is also the anniversary of the Chinese government crackdown on the Tiananmen Square protests.

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