Tense stand-off between community and authorities after fatal protest in Tibet

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

A dispute between local people and the authorities over the funeral of a man who set himself alight on 22 January has led to an “extremely tense” situation in Bhora township, Eastern Tibet.

Kunchok Kyab, 26 (1), undertook his fatal protest at midday on 22 January, at a prayer ground in Bhora Monastery (2). Authorities removed the body and issued a strict order barring anyone from visiting his home to perform the ceremonies for the dead. In response, local people have marched on local government offices and are threatening to hold a public prayer service outside the offices if his body is not returned.

Free Tibet director Stephanie Brigden said:

“Free Tibet has grave concerns about the situation in Bhora. This community has already been the subject of reprisals following previous protests, with arrests, increased military activity and ‘ideological teachings’ imposed on them since December.

“Despite that, local people are courageously standing up to the authorities. Free Tibet call on Chinese authorities at local and national level to recognise that repression in response to protest is counter-productive, and to honour the demands of Tibetans for basic human freedoms – not least the right to honour their dead.”

Bhora has been a flashpoint for previous protests: 40 monks were arrested at the monastery in March 2012, following a dispute with local authorities (3). The area has also recently seen increased military activity and arrests following self-immolation protests in 2012 (4).

Kunchok Kyab’s self-immolation is the third in 2013 (5). A nomad from the local area, he is survived by a wife and young baby.

Ends

Notes for editors

(1) Portrait photo available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/freetibetorg/8407350645/in/photostream
(2) Location: Thongchue prayer ground, Bhora Monastery, Sangchu County, Kanhlo Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture (TAP), Eastern Tibet (Chinese: Bola, Xiahe County, Gannan TAP, Gansu Province)
(3) http://www.freetibet.org/news-media/pr/protesting-monks-detained-protests-tibet-continue-spread
(4) The recent arrests relate to the self-immolation of Sungdue Kyab on 2 December 2012. For more information (including names of detainees) contact Free Tibet.
(5) See full list of self-immolators at http://www.freetibet.org/news-media/na/full-list-self-immolations-tibet

Free Tibet is an international campaigning organisation that stands for the right of Tibetans to determine their own future. We campaign for an end to the Chinese occupation of Tibet and for the fundamental human rights of Tibetans to be respected

For further information or comment, contact campaigns and media officer Alistair Currie:
E: alistair@freetibet.org
T: +44 207 324 4605