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18-Year-Old Self-Immolates on Tibetan Uprising Day

  • VOA Tibetan

Kirti monastery in Ngaba (file/photo)

An 18-year-old Kirti monk died in a self-immolation protest Saturday on March 10 behind Ngaba county military camp in eastern Tibet (Chinese: Aba County, Aba Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province).

Chinese authorities took Gepey’s body and forced cremation of his body the same night, according to UK-based advocacy group Free Tibet.

Lobsang Yeshi, spokesperson of Kirti monastery in India told VOA Tibetan that Gepey is survived by his mother and two brothers, who are also monks at the Kirti monastery in Ngaba.

The latest self-immolation comes at a sensitive time on the March 10 anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan Uprising Day and the March 2008 Tibetan-wide protest against China.

Thousands of Tibetans-in-exile marked the 53rd anniversary of the Tibetan national uprising day by taking to the streets to protest China’s rule in Tibet.

Phuntsok set himself ablaze on March 16, 2011, exactly 3 years after bloody crackdown on Tibetans of Ngaba on March 16, 2008. He succumbed to his injuries at 3AM (Beijing time) on March 17, 2011
Phuntsok set himself ablaze on March 16, 2011, exactly 3 years after bloody crackdown on Tibetans of Ngaba on March 16, 2008. He succumbed to his injuries at 3AM (Beijing time) on March 17, 2011
China has worsened crackdown in the Tibetan area of Ngaba following the self-immolation and death of a young Kirti monk called Phuntsog on March 16, 2011. In the aftermath of Phuntsog's protest and subsequent show of solidarity by the monks at Kirti monastery, the authorities launched a stringent patriotic education campaign at Kirti monastery, according to Kirti monks in exile.

In April 2011, Chinese authorities seized more than 300 protesting monks from the Kirti monastery, one of the most important religious institutions in the area. Beijing at the time denied involvement in the disappearances, before later admitting the monks were undergoing enforced "legal education" at undisclosed locations.

Since March 2011, more than sixteen Tibetans are known to have self-immolated from the restive Ngaba region. At least 25 nuns, monks and other people have set themselves on fire in Tibetan areas since last March, demanding the return of the Dalai Lama from exile and freedom in Tibet.

Situation in Ngaba region currently remains tense as Beijing continues to heighten its crackdowns, arbitrary beatings and detentions in Ngaba.

Chinese authorities last Wednesday said the Tibetan region is largely stable amid increasing wave of self-immolations in Tibetan areas that shows few signs of abating.

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. The leader of Tibet's government-in-exile has called on the international community to intervene on behalf of the Tibetans inside Tibet.

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