2 more self-immolations in China, total at 22


A Tibetan monk holds a poster depicting a burning monk during a rally in Siliguri on Feb. 8. Two more monks self-immolated on Feb. 10-11, bringing the total to 22 in the last year.



A week of protests ended with two more self-immolations in China, the latest an 18-year-old nun today in Ngaba.

Tenzin Choedron is said to have shouted anti-Chinese slogans before setting herself ablaze in the province of Sichuan, Radio Free Asia said.

“She did not die on the spot, but soldiers and police came immediately and took her away,” RFA quoted Tibetan sources inside Dharamsala, India, as saying.

Her death brings the total to 22 Tibetans to set themselves on fire in the last year; at least 13 have died, RFA said. Choedron is the third nun to take such an extreme step; she was from the Mamo Nunnery.

“After that, soldiers surrounded the nunnery and sealed it off, and nothing more is known of the situation inside,” RFA quoted the sources as saying.

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The monastery houses 350 nuns and staged a pro-Dalai Lama protest four years ago, which resulted in arrests and imprisonment, Voice of America said.

A monk in his 30s is also said to have set himself on fire this week, Sky News said. He’s reported to be in serious condition after the incident in the province of Qinghai.

Free Tibet representative Stephanie Brigden said Tibetans believe they have “no other recourse,” she told Sky News.

“There’s no redress in law or politics, and they feel that this is their only option. What’s of great concern is that many more names have been circulating of people who are willing to self-immolate,” she said.

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Marches and confrontations between Tibetans and the Chinese government continued this week, with pro-Tibet groups saying many have been shot.

“The Chinese constitution says we have religious freedom, but in reality we have no freedom,” a monk told Sky News. “Nobody wants to die, but these people who have self-immolated have given their lives in order to tell the world about the plight of Tibetans.”

China began its occupation of Tibet in 1951, saying it was liberating the oppressed. The Dalai Lama fled to India in 1959, and Tibetans have fought for independence and religious freedom ever since.

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