Third Tibet Self-Immolation In One Week
The fifty fourth Tibetan set himself on fire in an apparent protest against Chinese rule of Tibet and has reportedly died on the scene. The incidence took place near Kanlho Tsoe Dokar Gelug Monastery, located in Tsoe, Amdo, Kanlho Tibetan autonomous prefecture (Chinese:Gannan), in Gansu Province.
Exile sources state that Sangay Gyatso, 27, set himself on fire around noon local time, and photographs that have emerged show him charred and in flames.
Sangay Gyatso was a husband and a father of two, and made his living doing small business. His wife’s name is Dorjee Kyi, and his parent’s names are Gompo Dhondrup and Gompo Tso. Gyatso’s family came from a farming and nomadic background. Sources have told VOA that he had shouted for the swift return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet and called for religious and language rights. Choe Gyamtso, a former neighbor of Gyatso now living in exile has learnt that Gyato’s body was taken to his house following prayers done at the monastery, and that the number of Tibetans arriving at the house to pay homage was continuing to increase throughout Saturday. Other sources with contacts in the region say that following Gyatso’s protest, the area was extremely tense and that hundreds of security troops had descended on the local monastery.
Sangay Gyatso’s protest brings the number of self-immolations inside Tibet since 2009 to 54, and comes only two days after that of 43 year old Gudrup, a writer blogger who also died in his protest in Nagchu, ‘Tibet Autonomous Region’. These two self-immolations continue a developing pattern over the last year of more ordinary Tibetans from all walks of life taking out these drastic protests, and more of them occurring in the ‘Tibet Autonomous Region’.
The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, an exile NGO based in Dharamsala in a April 2012 report states that ‘Kanlho Prefecture has witnessed continued Tibetan protests against the Chinese government. There are not a single county in Kanlho that has not witnessed a demonstration or protest march since 2008. Even Tibetan schoolchildren rose up in protest. In 2008, 12 known Tibetans were shot dead by the security officers for participating in peaceful protests. In recent months, a Tibetan schoolgirl, Tsering Kyi died of self-immolation protest in Machu (Chinese: Maqu) county. Other cases of arbitrary practices and official abuse of power are common in Tibetan areas in Kanlho.’
Sangay Gyatso’s protest also comes only a week after the Special General Meeting of exile Tibetans had expressed alarm and concern over the loss of lives through self-immolations. The meeting had also declared that China’s policies in it’s rule of Tibet is the cause for the self-immolations and that the Chinese government is solely responsible for the situation inside Tibet deteriorating further.
Tenzin Atisha, spokesperson for the exile Central Tibetan Administration based in Dharamsala, India, expressed sadness at the continuing news of self-immolations in Tibet despite appeals from Tibetan exiles to stop such drastic measures, and stated that it was up to the Chinese government to show the courage to resolve the Tibetan issue through dialogue.
Sangay Gyatso left behind a wife, 7 year-old son, and 5 year-old daughter.