Parents of self-immolation protester Chakdor Kyab held by police

Bora Monastery, the site of Chakdor Kyab's self-immolation
Bora Monastery, the site of Chakdor Kyab's self-immolation

19th May 2017

This is the second time that Chakdor Kyab's parents have been detained this month

The parents of Chakdor Kyab, who set himself on fire in Sangchu County in eastern Tibet  earlier this month, have been detained.

This is the second time since Chakdor Kyab’s protest that his parents have been placed in detention. Dolma Tso, his mother, and Soepa, his father, were first held on 2 May, the date that Chakdor Kyab carried out his self-immolation protest. Chakdor Kyab’s sister was detained with them.

Earlier that day, Soepa, had driven the 16-year-old Chakdor Kyab from Dardo, their village, to his school, Bora Middle School. Around 20 minutes after his father left, Chakdor Kyab carried out his protest. He went to Bora Monastery, prayed, circumambulated the monastery and then set himself on fire.

Engulfed in flames, he shouted slogans "May His Holiness the Dalai Lama live for thousands of aeons", "Freedom in Tibet" and "Return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet".  He also shouted “Victory to the Gods” (“Lha Gyalo”).

Security personnel and armed forces quickly arrived at the scene, doused the flames and took Chakdor Kyab away.

Chakdor Kyab's parents and sister were released the same day of their detention on 2 May. Authorities also confiscated a motor vehicle and a motorcycle belonging to the family.

Despite this release, authorities have since detained Chakdor Kyab’s parents again. The date of this latest detention and their current whereabouts are unknown. Chakdor Kyab’s sister, who has been bed-ridden since her release, is not believed to have been detained.

Collective punishment

Local authorities have routinely punished family members and local communities following self-immolations. This has included arrests of family members, raids by the police and security services on towns where self-immolations have taken place, financial penalties and cutting local communications. In 2012 a series of harsh procedures were introduced with the intention of deterring further self-immolations from taking place.

Following the self-immolation by Pema Gyaltsen in March this year, masked Chinese security personnel beat and detained locals in Kardze County. Following Tashi Rabten’s self-immolation in December 2016, his wife and two daughters were taken into custody where they were reportedly beaten and put under pressure to sign a document claiming that Tashi Rabten’s protest was actually the result of a domestic dispute.

Free Tibet’s research partner, Tibet Watch, is working to verify further details of this case, as well as the location and condition of Chakdor Kyab.

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