“First self-immolation in Tibet Autonomous Region; former monk sets himself on fire”

Via ICT we read about yet another self-immolation. This one happened inside Tibet province, in Chamdo’s Karma Monastery, which has already been in the news recently:

Reports are reaching ICT from exile Tibetans in India about the self-immolation of a former monk in his forties in Chamdo (Chinese: Changdu or Qamdo) prefecture in the Tibet Autonomous Region today (December 1). The reports, that have been micro-blogged and uploaded on Facebook accounts in Tibetan, indicate that the Tibetan, named as Tenzin Phuntsog, survived and has been hospitalized. At least one source stated that the former monk was from a monastery in Chamdo township named as Karma monastery, which some sources say was under lockdown following a rumored bomb blast at a local government building on October 26.

Karma monastery, located on the eastern bank of the Dzachu River in Chamdo, was founded in the 12th century by the First Karmapa, leader of the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism and the first reincarnation lineage. Rumours of a bomb blast in a government building near the monastery on October 26 could not be confirmed at the time. One source, a Tibetan exile in India, told Radio Free Asia that monks from Karma monastery had not been allowed to leave the monastery at the time.

Repression has been intense in Chamdo, particularly since the 2008 protests, which led to a dramatic tightening of security in the area and the imposition of ‘emergency’ measures by the authorities including a “readiness to defend to the death key sites, key aims, and key areas at sensitive and highly critical periods,” according to a notice of strategies issued by the Chamdo government in 2009.

Chamdo has been described by the official media as the ‘frontline’ of the ‘patriotic education’ campaigns favored by the Chinese Communist Party as a means of pre-empting further nationalist protest in Tibet, and new measures have been introduced over the past few months to counter dissent and demonstrations. The authorities have emphasised ‘security work’ in the region, including the use of ‘vigilante’ squads, the stepping up of military drilling, and the imposition of more checkpoints to monitor people arriving in and leaving the area.

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Filed under ethnic conflict, Tibet

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