2 Tibetans self-immolate in protests

2013-03-25 15:11
Tibetan and Indian students from Delhi university hold pictures of Tibetans who self-immolated themselves against Chinese rule in Tibet during a protest outside the Delhi University campus. (Sajjad Hussein, AFP)

Tibetan and Indian students from Delhi university hold pictures of Tibetans who self-immolated themselves against Chinese rule in Tibet during a protest outside the Delhi University campus. (Sajjad Hussein, AFP)

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Beijing - A 30-year-old Tibetan mother of four burned to death and a 43-year-old Tibetan man self-immolated in a separate incident in the latest of more than 100 similar protests against China's rule of Tibetan areas, reports said on Monday.

The woman, identified by the single name Kalkyi, self-immolated on Sunday afternoon near a monastery in Rangtang county, in the restive Ngaba area of south-western China's Sichuan province, US-based Radio Free Asia and the Indian-based Tibetan government-in-exile said.

Lhamo Kyab, aged 43, burned himself on Monday in Medshul town in Xiahe County, or Sangchu in Tibetan, in the neighbouring province of Gansu, reported The Tibet Post International and Phayul.com, both based in the Indian city of Dharamsala.

It was not immediately known if Lhamo Kyab survived, said the reports, which quoted exiled Tibetans with contacts in Xiahe.

Kalkyi set herself alight in Ngaba "to highlight the Chinese policy of violent rule in Tibet and Tibetan populated areas," the US broadcaster quoted local sources as saying.

She was the mother of one boy and three girls under 15, said the news service, founded by the US government to promote democracy.

The Tibetan exile government said other Tibetans took Kalkyi's body inside the Jonang monastery, where more than 4 000 monks and lay Tibetans "gathered to express solidarity" with her.

It said local authorities warned the Tibetans that they would "take the body by force" if Kalkyi was not cremated before midnight.

The two protests were not reported by Chinese state media.

Fiery protests encouraged

About 110 Tibetans have set fire to themselves in China since 2009, most of them in the past two years. Many of the previous self-immolations were in Ngaba.

At least 92 of the protesters died, the exile government said, adding that they had called for "freedom for Tibetans" and the return of the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader.

London-based Free Tibet Monday said it saw "a significant escalation in China's hard-line response to dissent in Tibet, with a heightened military presence and widespread and systematic detentions," since President Xi Jinping became party leader in November.

"The situation in Tibet is really at breaking point and Xi Jinping must act immediately or risk creating an even greater crisis of geopolitical significance," Natasha Inozemtseva of the Save Tibet Foundation Russia said ahead of Xi's meeting this week with the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa.

The ruling Communist Party tightened security in most Tibetan areas last year after an escalation of the self-immolations and other protests against the government.

It has accused the exile government of encouraging the fiery protests, but the exile government on Monday said it had "consistently appealed to Tibetans not to resort to drastic actions, including self-immolation."

Read more on:    xi jinping  |  dalai lama  |  tibet  |  self-immolations

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