Self-Immolation Crisis Accelerates Again

After a summer with occasional breaks from the self-immolation spree, it looks like this autumn is starting to move as fast as the last one. Following a cluster of self-immolations in the Labrang area this week (at the monastery itself and the nearby towns of Sangke, Amchog and Bora), it looks like the rumors of two self-immolations in Nagchu have been verified. Via Free Tibet:

Two young Tibetan men, cousins Tsepo, 20, and Tenzin, 25, set fire to themselves in a protest in their village north of Lhasa at approximately 4pm on Thursday 25 October 2012. Tsepo is reported to have died on the way to the hospital. Tenzin was taken away by government officials; his wellbeing and whereabouts are unknown.

There have been seven self-immolations across a wide area of Tibet this week, the highest number in one week since these fiery protests began in 2011.

The cousins called out for independence for Tibet, for all Tibetans to unite as brothers and sisters, and for the return of the Dalai Lama as they set fire to themselves in front of a government building in their village.

Free Tibet Director Stephanie Brigden said:

“It has taken two days for information about this latest protest to emerge. Tibetans in Driru County are being intimidated in both visible and invisible ways.

“Chinese state security forces have been deployed in large numbers across Driru County. The internet and telephones are often blocked and, when they are working, Tibetans are afraid to talk about what is happening because they fear that their communications are being monitored by the government. Given recent disappearances and convictions of up to seven years imprisonment related to charges of sharing information, their fears are likely to be justified.

Meanwhile back in Gansu, the government is showing its typical lack of understanding of Tibetans while trying to put a stop to the self-immolations- by offering to pay informants who tell the government about planned self-immolations (translation by ICT):

Because of the sabotage by separatist forces in our territory and abroad, and because of the Dalai clique, there were four self-immolation incidents that happened in our prefecture. Those seriously impacted the situation of social harmony and the people’s happy lives.

The self-immolation incidents that happened recently are the political sabotage by the Dalai clique to separate China and sabotage the ethnic unity. All citizens must realize the situation, love your life, and take the initiative to stop this kind of criminal action. To expose the black hand behind the scene in a timely and correct manner, to crack down on such illegal criminal action under the law, and defend the harmonious situation in our prefecture, the police department decided:

1. Anyone who reports and informs the legal authorities on the people who plan, incite to carry out, control and lure people to commit self-immolation will be awarded 50,000RMB.

2. Anyone who correctly informs on the black hand who is behind the four self-immolation incidents that have already happened will be awarded 200,000RMB.

Slandering the Dalai Lama and constructing elaborate conspiracy theories about ‘black hands’ behind the self-immolations is easy and plays well in Beijing, but does exactly nothing to address the actual self-immolation crisis itself. If anything, notices like this could exacerbate these issues.


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Filed under Self-Immolation Crisis, Tibet

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