Quoting eyewitnesses from the area, Sonam, told VOA Tibetan Service this morning that Namlha Tsering was severely burned and has succumbed to death. Photographs received at the Service also show him sitting cross-legged in flames and another picture shows that he had fallen on his back in flames. Other sources say Tsering’s severely burned body and his motorbike were taken away by security forces who subsequently stated that he had died.
Namlha Tsering, also known as Hoba, is survived by his wife and four sons. The oldest is reported to be a monk. His self-immolation today brings the total number of self-immolations since February 2009 to 102.
Namlha Tsering was from the Ri Ngun village in Gangya Town Sangchu Dzong, Gannan prefecture in Gansu province, Tibet.
On February 13, 2013, Drugpa Khar, 26, carried out his self-immolation protest in Amchok region of eastern Tibet, a day observed by Tibetans as the centenary celebrations of His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama’s Proclamation of Tibetan Independence. On the same day, a Tibetan monk who had recently arrived in Katmandu, Nepal, from Tibet, set himself on fire and had died in a hospital in Katmandu.
The London-based Free Tibet says Namlha Tsering’s protest is the seventh confirmed in 2013 and has taken place in the context of a crackdown by Chinese security forces specifically intended to curb this form of protest.
“Recent weeks have seen a wave of arbitrary detentions and severe sentences for Tibetans accused of involvement in self-immolation protests. In January a monk called Lobsang Kunchok was given a suspended death sentence for ‘intentional homicide’ after allegedly inciting eight such protests, and eight other individuals have been given lengthy sentences in jail so far this year,” according to Free Tibet.
The self-immolators have called for freedom in Tibet and return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet from exile. The self-immolation campaign began in February 2009 to protest what Tibetans say is China’s repressive policy in Tibet. China denies the charge and says the self-immolation protests are acts of terrorism.