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A Tibetan Man Dies After Setting Himself on Fire

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Shichung, a 41 year old farmer and part-time tailor, self-immolated around 2:30 pm (local time) in Gomang Thawa village of Goman township in Ngaba County, Sichuan province on September 28, 2013, making him the latest Tibetan to set himself on fire in protest against China’s repressive policies in Tibet, bringing the total number of known self-immolators to 121 since 2009.

The protest took place during the annual Mani prayer festival. Tibetan sources say that Shichung left the festival around midday and returned home to prepare for his self-immolation. He lit butter lamps in front of a photo of the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibet. He set himself on fire just outside his home and ran towards the nearby main road before dying in the street.

A VOA Tibetan Service source from South India said that immediately after the protest, more than 100 police and military personnel, who were already in the village to supervise the celebration of the Mani festival, arrived at the scene. His body was taken away by the Chinese police despite repeated pleas from the Tibetans to hand over the body to them to perform proper ritual rites.

Sichung is survived by his wife, Palo, 36, and an 18-year-old daughter and a 14-year-old son. The self-immolators till date have called for the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet and freedom for Tibetans.