Tibetan mother self-immolates during protest over land rights; family members detained and beaten

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Free Tibet press release

A Tibetan woman set fire to herself during a protest over land rights in Jyekundo, Eastern Tibet (Chinese: Yushu, Qinghai) at approximately 2pm on Wednesday 27 June 2012. Dekyi Choezom, who is approximately 40 years old, is believed to have survived and to have been taken by security forces to hospital in Xining.

Dekyi Choezom chose to set fire to herself alongside a protest being held by approximately 70 local families against Chinese state land confiscations. Tibetans in Jyekundo have been protesting state reconstruction plans that have ousted them from their land to make way for government buildings since shortly after a devastating earthquake there in 2010 (1).

While Dekyi Choezom was still in flames, two of her relatives who were involved in the protest were singled out by Chinese state security forces, beaten and detained.

Many monks and lay people protested for the release of Dekyi Choezom’s relatives, threatening to set themselves on fire if their demand was not met. The two relatives were released later the same day, both suffering from injuries inflicted during their arrest and while in detention.

Free Tibet Director Stephanie Brigden commented:

“This is the first time a Tibetan in Tibet has set fire to themself alongside a larger protest. Dekyi Choezom’s actions highlight the devastating effect of China’s occupation of Tibet, while the treatment of her relatives demonstrates clearly the state’s brutal response to protests in Tibet.”


Notes to Editor

1. Earthquake hits eastern Tibet, April 2010: http://www.freetibet.org/newsmedia/earthquake-eastern-tibet

Tibetans object to Chinese reconstruction plans in Jyekundo, June 2010: http://www.freetibet.org/newsmedia/140610

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 and interviews please contact Free Tibet’s Director Stephanie Brigden:

T: +44 (0)20 7324 4605
M: +44 (0)7971 479515
E: Stephanie@freetibet.org