Lubhum Gyal, 18, died after set himself ablaze around 4:20 pm local time today in Dowa township of Tongren county in Malho Tibetan autonomous prefecture, Qinghai Province.
Sources tell VOA Service that Lubhum Gyal set himself on fire to protest China’s repressive policy and imposition of the stringent restrictions in the area.
Assembled Tibetans at the scene of the protest are reported to have taken Gyal's body. His cremation was peformed near Dowa Monastery by monks in the area. Lubhum Gyal is survived by his father Magtso Go and seven to eight other siblings.
Lubhum Gyal’s self-immolation is the 17th such protest by Tibetans in Tibet in November. A spate of self-immolations in different parts of Tibet and its prefectures have been reported since the start of the Chinese Communist Party's 18th Congress held in Beijing from November 8.
The latest self-immolation protest raises the number of total self-immolations in Tibet to 79 since February 2009, with 65 cases known to have resulted in deaths.
Following the recent incidents of alarming number of self-immolations by Tibetans in protest of Chinese rule, 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 this month.
“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,” said Nuland.
Beijing has accused the Dalai Lama of inciting the self-immolations to promote Tibetan separatism. The Tibetan spiritual leader has said China must conduct a “serious investigation” into the self-immolations rather than placing the blame on him.
China 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.