Monastery official self-immolates

17th February 2012

Monk was member of monastery Democratic Management Committee

Tibetan monk Tamchoe Sangpo died after setting himself on fire today at approximately 6am local time.

Tamchoe, who was in his late 30s, was a teacher at the Bongthak Monastery, scene of his self-immolation.

He was also a member of the Democratic Management Committee of the monastery, a government-controlled body set up to monitor the affairs of monasteries and nunneries.

Security clampdown

Chinese security personnel had been present at the monastery from 23 January to watch over the monks' daily activities after a patriotic re-education campaign there had met with protests.

Tamchoe had asked the security personnel to leave, but his request was ignored.

Communication blackout

The monastery is now subject to military checkpoint to prevent people entering or leaving, and its phone lines have been cut in an attempt to control flow of information.

Tamchoe is the latest case in a wave of self-immolations in Tibet. Over the last year, more than 20 people are known to have set themselves on fire in protest of the Chinese oppression.

More than 40 Tibetans have now set themselves on fire in protest at the repressive Chinese occupation of their country. See the full list.