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Fourth Self-Immolation Protest in Sangchu County since Saturday


Lhamo Tseten
A 24-year-old Tibetan man died after burning himself in Sangchu county on Friday, the fourth such self-immolation from the same county this week. Lhamo Tseten, a father of a two-year old daughter, set himself on fire around 2:30pm today in the small town of Achok, close to a security post and court building, and died at the scene.

While engulfed in flames, Lhamo Tseten is reported to have shouted for freedom in Tibet and for the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet. Tseten’s body was taken to his home village, located a few miles from Achok township where monks from the local monastery gathered to conduct prayers and perform Buddhist rituals.

UK-based advocacy group Free Tibet says that the situation is described as extremely tense in Sagchu and a large number of security personnel are reportedly moving into the area from nearby Bora Township.

"His body has now been taken to his village, and we also have reports that there are large numbers of security personnel moving into the area from Barra township," said Free Tibet media officer Harriet Beaumont.

Since February of 2009, at least 58 Tibetans have set themselves on fire to protest Chinese policy in Tibet. Today's self-immolation is the fourth self-immolation in the area this week, and the tenth in the past month. Increasing number of self-immolations has prompted Chinese police to offer cash rewards to anyone who provides information on people planning to set themselves on fire.

An official directive by the People’s Security Bureau in Kanlho (Chinese: Gannan), Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Gansu province (Tibetan area of Amdo), offers reward for information on self-immolations and warns harsh punishment on Tibetans engaged in instigating self-immolations. A photo obtained by VOA shows one notice posted on a poll that says police will pay $8,000 to anyone who provides information "on the people who plan, incite to carry out, control and lure people to commit self-immolation."

The announcement also promises a reward of about $30,000 to anyone who gives any credible information about the region's four most recent self-immolations.

China has long accused Tibetan exiles of self-immolating as part of a separatist struggle, denouncing them as terrorists, while representatives of the Dalai Lama say protesters are driven to self-immolate because they cannot tolerate China's repressive policies.
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