News / Asia

    Beijing Pressured After Teen Monk Self-Immolates

    Tibetan exiles hold candlelight vigil for those who have recently self-immolated, Dharmsala, India,  May 31, 2012.Tibetan exiles hold candlelight vigil for those who have recently self-immolated, Dharmsala, India, May 31, 2012.
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    Tibetan exiles hold candlelight vigil for those who have recently self-immolated, Dharmsala, India,  May 31, 2012.
    Tibetan exiles hold candlelight vigil for those who have recently self-immolated, Dharmsala, India, May 31, 2012.
    The London-based rights group Free Tibet says the death of an 18-year-old Tibetan monk in a self-immolation protest in southwest China Tuesday should prompt international pressure on Beijing to "let Tibetans decide their own future."

    In a written statement, Free Tibet director Stephanie Brigden said Tuesday's suicide of Lobsang Lozin in Sichuan province shows that Tibetan calls for freedom now are "overwhelming." Activists have reported more than 40 self-imm
    Locations of self-immolations in TibetLocations of self-immolations in Tibet
    x
    Locations of self-immolations in Tibet
    Locations of self-immolations in Tibet
    olations since 2009 by Tibetans protesting what they see as repressive government policies. Some of the self-immolations have been fatal.

    Tibetan activists said Lozin set himself on fire at Gyalrong Tsodun Kirti Monastery in Ngaba Tibetan autonomous prefecture in Sichuan province, and walked toward a local government office shouting slogans.

    "Some say he walked around 100 steps toward the Chinese communist party office in Ngaba, yet we cannot confirm this," said Kanyag Tsering, a Dharamsala-based representative of Kirti monastery. "And then he fell down and died."

    Administrators of the Tibetan government-in-exile, which is also based in the Indian city, expressed "deep concern" about Lozin's death and said Chinese authorities sent a large contingent of armed police to the monastery's town, Barkham, in an apparent bid to prevent further unrest.

    Activists said local Tibetans blocked a bridge to prevent police from reaching the monastery.

    According to Tsering, resident monks moved quickly to retrieve the teenager's body.

    "The monks have cleaned his body, brought it in the monastery and said prayers," said Tsering. "The unusual thing is that they are preparing to cremate his body tonight. According to Tibetan custom, they would usually keep the body for a few days and cremate it on an appropriate day. But since they are cremating it tonight, it shows that the monks fear that Chinese officials will take away his body."

    There was no immediate comment on the incident from the Chinese government, but Beijing has said Tibetans enjoy religious freedom and higher living standards resulting from China's economic development.

    Tibetans have long accused Beijing of suppressing and eroding their culture by flooding Tibetan regions with Han Chinese, the county's main ethnic group.

    Activists posted a photo on the Internet purporting to show Lozin on fire. Two other monks from the same monastery died after setting themselves on fire on March 30. The monastery is one of the region's largest, with more than 300 monks.

    - Graham White and VOA Tibetan Service's Dorje Tseten contributed to this report.

    Michael Lipin

    Michael covers international news for VOA on the web, radio and TV, specializing in the Middle East and East Asia Pacific. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_Lipin

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: John from: New York
    July 20, 2012 12:11 AM
    Why would a Tibetan decide to self-immolate? The following essay is the best understanding I have read on this issue:

    http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2012/05/09/tibet-cynical-sinicism-and-the-tragedy-of-self-immolations/

    by: DanTe
    July 17, 2012 11:14 PM
    Sounds like China is given a Solution, not a Problem. The more of these idiots burn themselves alive, the better. Hopefully before they had spawned and further infest the gene pool with the stupid gene. Burn Away!
    In Response

    by: Wangchuk from: NYC
    July 19, 2012 10:22 AM
    Sounds like yet another Han chauvinist who doesn't care about Tibetans, Uighurs & Mongolians or anyone who dares to challenge the CCP. This is an example of the lack of humanity among the Chinese communists.

    by: KFC from: Asia
    July 17, 2012 11:02 PM
    Frankly, Tibetans cannot live without the subsidies from China, in terms of economy and finance. Tibetan activists are blinded by oversea powers who plot to create unrest in this country to stop its peaceful development.
    In Response

    by: Wangchuk from: NYC
    July 19, 2012 10:21 AM
    KFC sounds like yet another 50 Cent Gang member posting pro-CCP messages. China has occupied Tibet for 60 years but Tibetans have not benefited. That's why so many are protesting against China. Tibet has had the "benefit" of CCP rule for 6 decades yet 1/4 of Tibetans live in abject poverty, 85% don't have a secondary education & 50% are illiterate, according to PRC statistics. Also per capita GDP of Tibetans today is about US$2500 yet Bhutan, which has a similar culture & economy as pre-1959 Tibet, has a per capita GDP of US$6,000. Logically Tibet would've been better off had China never invaded in 1950.

    by: Jonathan Huang from: canada
    July 17, 2012 10:20 PM
    Sorry only Chinese can decide Tibet's future because Tibet belongs to China. Tibetans, you are Chinese first then you are Tibetans, don't forget that, dont even think of against China or you are a traitor. We will kill all traitors for the sake of our mother land.
    In Response

    by: Wangchuk from: NYC
    July 19, 2012 10:17 AM
    Once again Mr. Huang shows his colonial mentality re Tibet. Huang doesn't want Tibetans deciding Tibet's future only Chinese people. And which Chinese? Well the CCP in Beijing of course! Huang also shows his racist mentality saying he will kill all Tibetans who want freedom. So will China kill all Tibetans to preserve Chinese rule in Tibet? Is Huang advocating genocide? Huang is a perfect example of the Han chauvinist mentality of the CCP & their 50 Cent Gang.
    In Response

    by: Jonathan huang from: Canada
    July 19, 2012 10:01 AM
    Thank you Bob, you just use your own action to support my opinion, that nobody like traitors. However, I don't agree with you about I have to go back to China. First, Canada is not an enemy of China. Second, I can do more help to China by living in Canada. I buy products from China and send back money. It's one of many reasons why China is growing so fast because oversea Chinese helps a lot. As you my friend, stop saying you were from Hong kong, you are a shame of Chinese.
    In Response

    by: Bob from: Hong Kong
    July 19, 2012 4:07 AM
    J. Huang, you are one sicko. What are you doing in Canada? You should be back in your "Mother Land", the wonderful communist China. I'm a Canadian and I support the Tibetan people. All they want is to be able to practice their religion in peace, something that the commies in Beijing are afraid of. Get out of my country Huang. You are the traitor!

    by: Bill from: Simon
    July 17, 2012 9:59 PM
    Will US government let native Indian tribes decide their own fate without ANY restriction what so ever?
    In Response

    by: John from: China
    July 17, 2012 11:39 PM
    support your opinion!
    In Response

    by: Sanjay from: US
    July 17, 2012 10:24 PM
    Tibetans and White people are facing same fate.

    Chinese are moving in, exterminating Tibetans.

    Non-Whites are moving in, exterminating White people. In Europe, in America, in Australia.

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