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Tibetan Mother of Four Dies in Self-immolation Protest


A 30 year old Tibetan woman set herself on fire today (March 24, 2013) around 3:30 pm local time, in an apparent protest against the Chinese government’s repressive policies in Tibet and Tibetan areas in China. The self –immolation took place near Zamthang Jonang Monastery in Zamthang county, Ngaba Prefecture, Sichuan Province. The monastery is one of the region’s largest with around 4,000 monks. Sources say Kalkyi, a mother of four children, died at the site of her immolation, and that eyewitnesses saw her engulfed in flames but could not identify what she was saying.

VOA has learnt that Tibetans in the area were able to take her body to Zamthang Jonang Monastery , and that monks were carrying out prayers and rituals for the deceased. Chinese officials and security personnel had arrived at the monastery an hour after the self-immolation incident and had ordered that the body be cremated before Sunday midnight, according to the same source who spoke to the VOA Tibetan.

Kalkyi’s self-immolation brings the known number of self-immolations in Tibet since February 2009 to 110. Except for two immolations that were property rights protests, the rest were reported to have been protests against repression or calls for the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet. Kalkyi is survived by her four children, husband Dupae, father Choden, and mother Pari. She leaves behind three sons—Denam, Pochung, Sopo, and a daughter who is the youngest child, named Chung.

Last week the Chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Robert Menendez, expressed concern on the continuing unrest in Tibet and what he described as, “the tragic trend of self-immolations in Tibet.” In his speech on the Senate floor, Menendez stated that, "Tibet today is one of the most repressed and closed societies in the world, where merely talking on the phone can land you in jail. Support for the Dalai Lama can be prosecuted as an offence against the state."
The Senator addressed the Tibet self-immolations by stating, "Like so many others, I wish that Tibetans would not choose self-immolations, a horrific act, as a method of protest. I hope Tibetans will find other ways to express their grievances and despair and halt these self-destructive acts", and identified the causes of these protests as being rooted in the Chinese government’s policies in Tibet by stating, "At the same time, we must understand that these sorts of acts are indicative of the deep sense of frustration felt by the Tibetan people. This is not a conspiracy of "foreign forces" but indicative of the deep sense of hopelessness of a people denied their basic dignity," the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Menendez said.
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