February 8th: Another self-immolation, more protests in Qinghai

ICT reports that there has been another self-immolation in Ngaba:

In a climate of deepening tension and military buildup, a Tibetan man set fire to himself today at around 6 pm local time in Ngaba (Chinese: Aba), according to Tibetan monks in exile who are in contact with people in the region.

According to two Tibetan monks from Kirti monastery in Dharamsala, India (associated with Kirti monastery in Ngaba), the Tibetan set himself on fire at a primary school early in the evening in Ngaba county town in Ngaba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan province (the Tibetan area of Amdo). Sources said that the Tibetan seemed to be a monk, but his name and place of origin are not known. He was taken away by police, and it is not known whether he is still alive. Two monks were also detained from the vicinity.

The Tibetan writer Woeser attributed the increased security and sensitivity in Tibet, already high in Ngaba, because today is Wednesday, known as Lhakar Day, a day in which Tibetans in exile and also in Tibet make a special effort to wear traditional clothes, speak Tibetan, eat in Tibetan restaurants and buy from Tibetan-owned businesses.

Phayul confirms, reporting the same time and place. From VOA we hear that there was a major gathering in Nangchen, a few hundred miles away, and RFA reports that both that and another gathering at Tridu seemed to have turned into protests:

Chinese security forces attempted but failed to stop the demonstrations in two counties in Qinghai province as protesters shouted slogans and carried banners calling for a “free Tibet,” the release of all Tibetan political prisoners, and the return of Tibet’s spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, the sources said.

The crowds swelled to about 1,000 each at the peak of the protests in Nangchen (Nangqian, in Chinese) county and Tridu (Chenduo, in Chinese) county in Yulshul (Yushu, in Chinese) prefecture, the sources said, citing contacts in the two areas.

“They chanted prayers and [shouted slogans such as] “Freedom for Tibet” and “Long live the Dalai Lama,” one source from inside Tibet told RFA.

“When armed soldiers and policemen closed in, the Tibetans shouted “Kyi Hi Hi,” a Tibetan battle cry in defiance,” the source said.

“The soldiers and policemen then retreated but watched from a distance. There was no clash between them but the protesters remained in the stadium.”

In the other protest in Tridu county, about 400 monks from the Sekha monastery launched a 12 kilometer (about seven mile) “solidarity” march to Dzatoe town but were stopped by security forces halfway at a bridge, angering about 1,000 local residents who then joined the demonstration.

“Chinese [forces] pressured the monks to stop the march, and at that point around 1,000 local residents joined the protests and raised slogans for up to three hours,” one local source said.

Another source said the monks had defied appeals by laypersons against proceeding with the march amid fears they would be detained.

“The Tibetan protesters shouted that they were ready to sacrifice their lives and would continue their struggle,” one caller from Tibet told RFA.

The monks carried big white banners calling for the Dalai Lama’s return to Tibet from exile in India and urging the Chinese authorities to release “innocent” Tibetan prisoners.

The banners, with words written in red and blue, also called on the authorities to “Respect the Tibetans—We are one in happiness and sorrow,” and “Respect the Tibetan language.”

This is the same Tibet China claims to have complete control over?

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Filed under Dalai Lama, ethnic conflict, protests, Self-Immolation Crisis, Tibet

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