Eleventh Tibetan - second nun - dies after setting fire to herself

Thursday, 3 November 2011

A Tibetan nun, Palden Choetso (1), 35 years old, has died after setting herself on fire on the Chume Bridge in the centre of Tawu, Kandze Autonomous Prefecture, Eastern Tibet (Ch. Bing He Lu Road, Daofu, Garzi Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province), at 12:40 pm (Tibet local time) today. Palden Choetso set fire to herself at the same place as the monk Tsewang Norbu - who also died - set fire to himself in August (2). Palden Choetso is the eleventh confirmed self-immolation in Tibet this year (3), and the second woman to set fire to herself. Palden Choetso was from Geden Choeling Nunnery, Tawu, Kandze Autonomous Prefecture, Eastern Tibet and had been a nun for 15 years.

Palden Choetso drank petrol, doused herself with it and then set herself on fire. She was heard calling out: “Long live the Dalai Lama” and “Let the Dalai Lama Return to Tibet”. Police carrying metal batons reportedly prevented people standing nearby from helping her. She is believed to have died at the scene and her body was taken to the local monastery, Nyitso Monastery. Monks, people from the Tawu town and nuns from Geden Choeling Nunnery have gathered at Nyitso Monastery where there are prayers and chanting for Palden Choetso.

The internet in Tawu has now been cut off and there are restrictions on movement into and out of the town. The People’s Armed Police have been in the area since Tsewang Norbu’s self-immolation in August and so were on hand to station themselves outside Nyitso Monastery immediately after Palden Choetso’s body was brought there.

Free Tibet Director Stephanie Brigden said:

“This latest self-immolation clearly demonstrates that Tibetans will continue to demand freedom regardless of the cost to themselves. China must realise that these extraordinary calls for freedom cannot be stamped out.

“The courage and determination of these individuals to make sure that the world knows about the situation in Tibet deserves a response from each and every one of us. The international community – the public, the media, businesses, governments - must let China know that we hold the Chinese regime accountable for repressive policies in Tibet and that we stand beside Tibetans in demanding freedom for Tibet. Only an end to China’s occupation will bring about the realisation of Tibetan rights.”


Notes to Editor

1) http://freetibet.org/newsmedia/palden-choetso

2) http://www.freetibet.org/newsmedia/monk-dies-after-setting-himself-fire-...

3) Summary of the escalating trend of self-immolation and protest in Tibet