Self-immolation protests on anniversary of fatal shootings

16th March 2014

Update: Lobsang Palden died (21 March) 5 days after his self immolation protest. Monks writes: "hatred towards others brings failure"

Lobsang Palden, a Buddhist monk in his 20s from Kirti monastery in Ngaba, set himself on fire on 16 March on the main street of Ngaba town. The street has been dubbed 'Heroes' street' by local Tibetans because so many have self-immolated there. Lobsang Palden was the fourth monk from the monastery to stage a protest on March 16 - the date of fatal shootings in the town -since 2011. Police extinguished the fire and took him to hospital. His current condition is unknown. Security and surveillance have been tightened in Ngaba county since the protest. The video footage below was taken in the immediate aftermath; police lift Lobsang Palden (wrapped in a sheet) into the back of a truck, then a surge of riot police run to the scene.

Second self-immolation

Free Tibet has also confirmed a second self-immolation in Malho, east Tibet, to the north of Ngaba. The protester's name and further information are not available at the time of writing but it is believed he died. UPDATE: Protester identified as Jigme Tenzin. Read more here.

Unity and sincerity

In a message posted on WeChat, a popular social media platform in China, on the day of his protest, Lobsang Palden wrote: “There should be unity and sincerity between nationalities. It goes without saying that hatred towards others brings failure and pure sincerity towards others lets success prevail. No matter what issues are dealt with, it is essential to contemplate first rather than acting foolishly.”

Tibetans killed

In 2008, hundreds of monks and laypeople gathered to protest against the Chinese regime. After firing tear gas and beating protesters, troops opened fire with live ammunition, killing 13, including sixteen-year-old girl Lundhup Tso.

Shooting anniversary protests

In 2011, Kirti monk Phuntsog set himself alight on the anniversary of the shootings, the first such protest in Tibet since 2009. Since then, more than 125 other Tibetans have set themselves alight. On 16 March 2012, Lobsang Tsultrim set himself alight in Ngaba, dying two days later. On 16 March 2013, Lobsang Thokmey died in another such protest. Both were also monks from Kirti monastery.

Fatal shootings

China has not hesitated to use lethal force against protesters. In January 2012, fatal shootings occurred in several different locations in Tibet. In 2013, police used live ammunition firing on a protest in Driru and at Tibetans celebrating the Dalai Lama's birthday in Tawu in July.

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