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Tibetan School Girl Dies in Self-Immolation Protest

Tibetan School Girl Dies in Self-Immolation Protest

Tsering Kyi
Tsering Kyi
A 19-year-old Tibetan student died after setting herself on fire Saturday in Machu County of Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.

A source from inside Tibet told Voice of America that Tsering Kyi was a good student and that her family was from Menma, a town within the same county.

Tsering Kyi was known to have gone to Menma town around 3 pm after buying petrol in the market. She used a public toilet to douse herself and walked into a Chinese run vegetable market engulfed in flames, according to the same source.

Reports say Tsering Kyi was forced back into the toilet, where she appears to have died. Security police reportedly took Tsering Kyi's body and have not returned her body to the family.

The UK based advocacy group Free Tibet writes that a few days before the incidence, Tsering Kyi had said, “in Ngaba and other areas of Tibet, Tibetans are burning themselves. We should do something – life is meaningless if we don’t do something for Tibet.”

A statement released by the India based Tibetan parliament-in-exile says Chinese security personnel arrived at the scene of the protest and locked down the market. “All mobile phones were confiscated in an attempt the stop the news of the protest from spreading,” the release said. “People at the scene of the protest were issued strict orders against speaking about the self-immolation.”

Dolkar Kyap, a former political prisoner in Tibet, now living in India said that Tsering Kyi is from a family of nomadic farmers and that she had one elder sister. Kyap told VOA that following the immolation, an emergency county meeting was convened where it was agreed to propagate the cause of the self- immolation as being a personal matter related to a love interest. The meeting also agreed to keep the market and schools closed on Monday.

Since March 2011, 25 Tibetans have set themselves ablaze demanding the return of the Dalai Lama from exile and freedom in Tibet.

Heightened clampdowns and reports of arbitrary beatings and detentions in all Tibetan regions across the Tibetan plateau have been occurring for several weeks, possibly in an attempt to preempt protests as the sensitive March anniversary of the Tibetan uprisings of 2008 and 1959 approaches.