Three monks from Ngaba, a mother from Rebkong and a Tibetan man from Driru are reported to have self-immolated on Wednesday in an apparent China protest, a day before the Chinese Communist Party’s 18th National Congress.
Three Tibetan monks from Ngoshul monastery burned themselves in Ngaba, Sichuan around 3pm (local time) today. 15-year-old Dorji, 16-year-old Samdrup and Dorji Kyab set themselves on fire outside Ngoshul monastery calling for the Dalai Lama's return to Tibet and freedom for Tibet. Security personnels are reported to have arrived at the scene shortly after their self-immolations. Dorji, 15, is known to have died at the scene of the protest and the other two have been admitted to a hospital in Ngaba. Sources with contacts in the area report heavy presence of security and severe restrictions around Gomang and Ngoshul monastery. Ngoshul monastery, located about 12 kilometers from Ngaba county, has about 130 monks.
Tamding Tso, a 23-year-old Tibetan mother died after setting herself on fire in Rebkong, Qinghai (the Tibetan area of Amdo). She is known to have called for return of the Dalai Lama back to Tibet while ablaze. Sources say monks of Dowa monastery carried Tamding’s charred body to her home where thousands of Tibetans gathered to pray and show solidarity.
A Tibetan man reportedly set himself on fire in Bankar village of Driru county in Nagchu Prefecture. Details of the self-immolation are unknown.
More than 68 Tibetans have set themselves on fire since February 2009 from Tibetan Autonomous Region and across Tibetan inhabited regions in China. The self-immolators have called for return of the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and freedom for Tibet.
Last week, the U.S. Ambassador to China spoke about his trip last month to Tibetan monasteries and urged China to meet with Tibetan representatives to address self-immolations.
“We implore the Chinese to really meet with the representatives of the Tibetan people to address and re-examine some of the policies that have led to some of the restrictions and the violence and the self-immolations, and we are very concerned with the human rights condition here in China,” said Ambassador Locke.
Senior Chinese officials have rejected calls to meet with the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama or with authorities from the Tibetan exile government based in northern India.
China has also lashed out at U.N. criticism of Beijing's handling of unrest in Tibetan areas. Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Monday that self-immolations have been instigated by exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, and are used to encourage people to engage in "separatist" activities. The Dalai Lama has said he is opposed to all violence and that self-immolations are caused by Chinese government’s hardline policies in the region.