Chinese official tells Tibetans to “self-immolate if they want”

26th May 2015

Mass Tibetan protest calling for end to oppressive rule

Local Tibetans, including the head of Nyitso Monastery and representatives of the local villages have gathered at the monastery in protest of local authority’s treatment of Tibetans in Tawu County. The crowd of a thousand gathered on 24 May 2015, in response to the disregard of Tibetans by the head of Tawu County, a Chinese official. On 22 May 2015, local people went to request the release of detained Tibetans, after Tenzin Gyatso's self immolation protest, and to explain why Tibetans were carrying out protests. In response, the top Chinese official in Tawu County told locals "that they could supply petrol to those who wanted to self-immolate”. China has previously criminalised Tibetans assisting self-immolation protests and Tibetans in Tibet have recently been required to show identity papers to buy petrol.

Protest in Tawu County

resized.jpgImage: One of the beaten detainees in Tawu County

Ten Tibetans were arrested last week following Tenzin Gyatso's fatal self-immolation protest. They had attempted to stop the police from confiscating his burning body. Although now released, the arrested (four women and six men) were severely beaten whilst in detention. The situation in Tawu County remains very tense, with heavy restrictions on communications. In 2011, Tibetans in Tawu County showed up in large numbers to attend a vigil (below) for Palden Choetso, who also carried out carried out a self-immolation protest.

Take Action

Tibetans continue to protest against China’s rule in Tibet and China’s response has been to inflict severe punishments. The ongoing crisis in Tibet demands action from world leaders, who must put pressure on China to recognise Tibetans’ desire for freedom. Email your country’s foreign minister now and ask them to speak up for Tibet.