Mother-of-two carries out self-immolation protest

27th May 2015

Update 03/06/14: new information emerges from sources; Sangy Tso's nephew arbitrarily detained.

Following Sangy Tso's self-immolation on 27 May, her 28-year-old nephew Tenzin Sopa was arbitrarily arrested by China's police on 28 May and his whereabouts remain unknown. China's authorities are threatening the monks of the monastery that anyone who posts any photos or information related to Sangy Tso's self-immolation will face heavy punishment or be expelled from the monastery. Before self-immolating, Sangy Tso offered incense in front of a portrait photo of the Dalai Lama; text was discovered in Tibetan just below the portrait which said, "Long Live His Holiness the Dalai Lama", "Where is His Holiness the Panchen Lama", "Tibet needs Freedom" and "Tibet needs Human Rights". Local officials and police went to Sangy Tso's home and ordered them to keep quiet about her self-immolation; they were told to tell people that she died of natural causes. Tso and her husband ran several businesses together in both Lhasa and Nagchu. Police interrogate the family after Sangy Tso's fatal protest 37-year-old Sangy Tso has died after setting herself alight in protest against China's occupation, at around 4am (local time) on Wednesday 27 May 2015. She carried out her protest at the entrance of a government office close to Tashi Choekor Ling Monastery in Chone County, eastern Tibet. Security personnel removed her body. About an hour prior to her protest, Sangy Tso sent a message to her family via WeChat (a popular Chinese social media platform). Security personnel have been deployed across the area and the movement of local people has been restricted. Sangy Tso's family are under interrogation by security personnel at their home.

Increased Military presence since 2008 protests

Sangy Tso two kids.jpgSangy Tso's children

The government office has been enlarged since the 2008 uprising protests. A local source described Sangy Tso’s self-immolation as “a clear act of political protest against those Chinese officials who are constantly torturing Tibetans in the area”. Sangy Tso was married to Tamding Wangyal with two children – a boy named Tsering Dhondup and girl named Khatso. More than 130 confirmed self-immolation protests have taken place inside Tibet.

Tawu County protests

This protest comes just days after the head of Tawu County dismissed the grievances being raised by local Tibetans in the wake of Tenzin Gyatso’s self-immolation protest and told them they could “supply petrol to those who wanted to self-immolate”.

Take Action

Learn more about Tibet’s self-immolation protests here and find out what you can do to help Tibet here.