An 18-year-old Tibetan, Nangdrol, died Sunday after self-immolating himself at Zamthang monastery in Ngaba, eastern Tibet. Sources told VOA Tibetan that Nangdrol burned himself to protest China’s repressive policy in Tibet.
1,000 people reportedly gathered at the monastery late Sunday to plan a funeral. The situation at Zmathang Moanstery is tense because a large contingent of Chinese forces has arrived in the area, reports say.
More than 20 Tibetans have set themselves on fire in the past year to protest Beijing’s rule. Senior Tibetan officials have pleaded with the monks and others to stop burning themselves. The exile Tibetan leadership and rights groups have expressed fear of more self-immolations and further bloodshed in Tibet following China’s violent crackdown over peaceful protests in recent weeks in Tibet.
Chinese officials call the self-immolations a form of terrorism. They also accuse the Tibetan spiritual leader in exile, the Dalai Lama, and other foreign groups of encouraging violence against Chinese authorities.
The latest self-immolation comes at a sensitive time ahead of Wednesday’s traditional Tibetan New Year and the March 14 anniversary of 2008 Tibet-wide protests against China.