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Tibetan Monk Immolates Himself in China Protest


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

21 year old Amdo Ngaba monk Phuntsog of Kirti monastery immolated himself Wednesday in protest to mark the 3rd anniversary of violent crackdown in Ngaba on March 16, 2008.

Police extinguished the flames and were seen beating Phuntsog before he died, according to Tibetan exiles in contact with Tibetans in Ngaba (Chinese: Aba) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan province (the Tibetan area of Amdo).

Ven. Tsering of Kirti Monastery in Dharamsala told VOA Tibetan Service that the self-immolation and police beatings triggered a street protest of nearly a thousand monks and lay people against government controls on the restive region. Chinese police who moved in to suppress the protest had arrested many monks, says Ven Tsering.

Some monks took Phuntsog's body back to the monastery, according to Ven. Tsering. "Now, the monastery is surrounded by armed Chinese military and I am told that the phone connections in Ngaba have been cut," said Ven. Tsering

This is the second self-immolation by a Kirti monk following the crackdown that was imposed after the demonstrations in March, 2008. Tapey, a monk in his mid-twenties, set himself on fire on February 27, 2009 as a form of protest after local authorities told monks at Kirti monastery that they were not allowed to observe Monlam, a traditional prayer festival that is held after Tibetan New Year (Losar).

According to several sources from the area, police opened fire on Tapey as he was surrounded by flames. The official Chinese press reported the incident, but denied reports that police had opened fire on Tapey. Tapey survived, but was taken into custody and his whereabouts remain unknown.

China says 22 people were killed in the 2008 protests when protests turned violent. But the Tibetan government-in-exile says Chinese security forces killed more than 200 Tibetan protesters in Tibet and adjoining areas during the crackdown.

China have accused Tibet's spiritual leader the Dalai Lama for orchestrating the 2008 unrest. Tibetans in Tibet remain secretly loyal to their spiritual leader.

Some information for this report was provided by ICT

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