A 24-year-old Tibetan man has died after carrying out a self-immolation protest on Saturday, November 17, in Rebkong, becoming the second Tibetan to burn himself on the same day.
Exile Sources with contacts in area told VOA that Sangdhak Tsering set himself ablaze around 7 pm local time in front of a local Chinese government office in Dokarmo Township in Rebkong (Chinese: Tongren) in Malho (Chinese: Huangnan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Qinghai Province. His self-immolation occurred three hours after that of Chakmo Kyi, 26, a mother of two.
Monks from the nearby monasteries and thousands of local Tibetans reportedly gathered at the protest site where they carried Sandakha's body near the Gonshul Sang Ngag Mendrol Dhargyeling for cremation.
Sandhak Tsering is survived by his wife Tamdin Tso, 24, son Dankyab, 3, father Choeying, 54, and mother Manlha Tso, 49.
Sources say that Sangdhak Tsering had often confided to his wife of the lack of freedom in Tibet and questioned living in repression in the absence of the Dalai Lama and imprisonment of the Panchen Lama.
Following the recent escalation in the number of self-immolations by Tibetans, the United States has urged China to address the issue of human rights violations in Tibet.
“We want to see the human rights situation there and throughout China improve,” the State Department spokesperson, Victoria Nuland, told reporters on Friday.
“We have been clear for decades about our commitment to human rights in Tibet, that we want to see China address the underlying problems there, the threats to the distinctive culture and linguistic identity of the Tibetan people, and our grave concern about the fact that people would feel so desperate as to resort to self-immolation,” she said.
Nuland said the US has been regularly raising its concern about the Tibetan self-immolations with Chinese authorities.
“We encourage China to work with authorities in Tibet to address the grievances of the people and to protect the cultural diversity of their country,” she said.
Tibet’s spiritual leader the Dalai Lama has recently demanded that China investigate the real causes for the self-immolations and to thoroughly probe its causes.
The Chinese foreign ministry and State media has described past self-immolations as having had personal motives behind them or has sought to discredit the actions as having been carried out by marginal people. The Chinese foreign ministry has also at times described the self-immolation protests as being acts of terrorism and separatism, and blamed the Dalai Lama for not doing enough to stop them, while at the same time describing the Dalai Lama as not having any influence on Tibetans inside Tibet.
Tsering’s self-immolation brings the total number of such protests in Tibet since February 2009 to 76 and out of which 62 have died. In Rebkong, there have been nine self-immolations this month, mostly by young Tibetan men and women.