Tibetan teens in double immolation

2013-02-21 11:02

Beijing - Two Tibetan teenagers died after they set fire to themselves in protest at Chinese rule, reports and Western rights groups said, in a rare instance of a double self-immolation in the restive region.

The former primary school classmates were named as 18-year-old Sonam Dargye and a 17-year-old identified by US-based Radio Free Asia (RFA) only as Rinchen.

They died on Tuesday in Aba prefecture, a Tibetan area of Sichuan province in south-western China, RFA said, where a wave of the gruesome acts have occurred.

Stephanie Brigden, head of London-based campaign group Free Tibet, which also reported the deaths, said: "Tibet's children... face all the challenges of life under oppression, and are often full participants in the struggle to resist it."

100 self-immolations thus far

The self-immolations followed the reported death on Sunday of 49-year-old Namlha Tsering in the middle of a busy street in Xiahe county in the north-western province of Gansu, RFA added.

On its website it showed a photograph of a man purported to be Namlha Tsering engulfed in flames, sitting in the road with his legs crossed as cars passed by.

Free Tibet said the man, who was also known as Hoba, left a wife and four sons.
More than 100 people have set themselves on fire in protest at China's rule since 2009, at least 85 of whom have died, according to reports.

The Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet said at least 22 of those who have set themselves alight were aged 18 or under, including Tuesday's double immolation.

Many Tibetans in China accuse the government of religious repression and eroding their culture, as the country's majority Han ethnic group increasingly moves into historically Tibetan areas.

Dalai Lama seeks greater autonomy

Beijing rejects criticism of its rule, saying Tibetans enjoy religious freedom and pointing to huge ongoing investment it says has brought modernisation and a better standard of living to Tibet.

Authorities have sought to crack down on the protests by arresting those it accuses of inciting them and prosecuting them for murder, and have embarked on a major publicity drive on the issue in recent weeks.

Beijing accuses the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, and his "clique" of inciting such acts to push a separatist agenda. But the Dalai Lama says he is seeking greater autonomy rather than Tibetan independence.

The Nobel laureate fled his homeland in 1959 after a failed uprising, and has since based himself in the Indian hill town of Dharamshala.

  • fidel.uncensored - 2013-02-21 11:40

    This is self defeating!

  • thando.gqabaza - 2013-02-21 12:31

    Think about things like this before supporting China Mall !!

  • AllcoveredinNinjas - 2013-02-21 12:54

    Can someone distingiush China's annexxation of Tibet as anything other than colonial imperialism ? The defining characteristic being that empires don't leave after invasion . During the Great Leap Forward between 200,000 and 1,000,000 Tibetans died, and approximately 6,000 monasteries were destroyed around the Cultural Revolution .

      fidel.uncensored - 2013-02-21 13:16

      Tibet was a brutal, medieval place until the Chinese Invasion. According to the book, Khambas of Kham, punishments included amputations and blinding. The clergy lived in abundance, neglecting and leaving the general population to fend for themselves. Tibet was an absolute Theocracy, like the Vatican City. The Tibetans had no other political leaders. When he ruled, the Dalai Lama was a dictator and that the vast majority of Tibetans lived in poverty and ignorance, propping up the religious elite. Tibet has been part of China since the 17th century. Their free period from 1911-1950 was not recognised by one nation, Britain who forced the 12th Dalai Lama to sign the indepedence from Qing Dynasty China (see Simla Conference) since East India Trading Company's Colonel Young husband was invading Tibet with his army and 12th Dalai's plea to Qing Dynasty from military intervention couldn't be fulfilled due to it being overthrown by Sun Yet Sen, founding father of Nationalist party of ROC. Naturally Qing dynasty, Taiwan ROC, and later Mainland PRC, all denounced this forced independence. UK watered that recognition down since 1950 and by 2010 officially unrecognised it. Tibet has been a part of China for much longer period of time, some say a thousand years (more like propaganda) but surely in the last 350 years (under Qing era).

      fidel.uncensored - 2013-02-21 13:21

      Tibet since the fall of the Chinese empire has been in and out of the Chinese sphere of influence until 1950s, but there's another phrase for it. It's not "annexation", it's "reclamation". So what the Chinese did in the 1950s is to merely "reclaim" Tibet, not to "annex" it. If you look at even what the Dalai Lama says, he neither claims Tibet was a sovereign country nor that it should be, he rather is opposed to its lack of relative autonomy within China compared to, say, during the nineteenth century. I can understand people making extreme demands, but China sees its territorial integrity as absolutely non-negotiable, so demanding the dissolution of China is infantile political naivety.

      AllcoveredinNinjas - 2013-02-21 14:30

      As far as i'm aware , Tibet was a distinct nation and state independent between the fall of the Mongol Empire in 1368 and subjugation by the Qing Dynasty in 1720, and again between the fall of the Qing Dynasty in 1912 and its incorporation into the PRC in 1951. Moreover, even during the periods of nominal subjugation to the Yuan and Qing, Tibet was largely self-governing. Yes the Tibetans had a crap and archaic system a centuryand more ago but so were many systems and there are still such horrendous systems around unfortunately . Territory coming in and out of imperial influence doesn't let you claim it later on , then other countries that had imperial regimes like the european or ottoman empires could have a greater claim on 'reclaiming' those territories . You can't find out what Tibetans themselves think because they have no representative system . What Free Tibetans are asking for is not the dissolution of China but independent nation state . Neither is it a similar case to Puerto Rico as being a self elected unincorporated state of the united states, its underlines the importance of self elected incorporation which it is not.

      fidel.uncensored - 2013-02-21 16:48

      The exiled political leadership for Tibet isn't asking for independence, but some kind of limited autonomy, which can be interpreted as their acknowledgement of China's territorial claim over that region. China today comprise different ethnicities who have converged under the leadership of the Han ethnic group, and these groups have formed one country, one people, including the Tibetans, who incidentally were egged on by the CIA to create a separate state, which would have acted as a front line state against the victorious communist in the Chinese civil war. All this independence talk started after the communist prevailed, with the CIA training and arming Tibetans to break away from China, which failed (think of the bay of pigs). Tibetans were misled by the CIA, which has since thrown them under the bus, and there's a sense of betrayal by the Chinese authorities of Tibet's collusion with a foreign power, which is why China has been very vigilant and distrustful about Tibet's autonomy. These are the dynamics that influence this relationship between the mainland and Tibet!

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