18-year-old dies in first self-immolation protest for five weeks

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Kunchok Sonam set himself alight at around 8.40am local time today (20 July) in Ngaba Autonomous Prefecture, eastern Tibet (2) .

A monk from Thangkor Soktsang monastery, the 18 year-old set himself alight close to the monastery after morning prayers. Authorities tried to claim his body but local Tibetans were able to prevent them.

Since his protest, communications restrictions have been intensified in the area.

The last self-immolation to take place in Tibet was on 14 June (3).

Free Tibet spokesperson Alistair Currie said:

“Most of those to have died after setting themselves on fire in Tibet have been young - many as young or younger than Kunchok Sonam. They have chosen to die in the hope that others in their country may live their lives without fear of oppression.

“At eighteen this young man should have had his life ahead of him. His terrible death would never have occurred if the men who hold power in Beijing simply granted Tibetans rights most of us take for granted: freedom to speak, freedom to worship, and freedom to decide our own futures. ”

-ends-

For further information or comment, contact campaigns and media officer Alistair Currie:
E: alistair@freetibet.org
T: +44 (0)207 324 4605

Notes for editors

(1) Portrait photo can be viewed at https://www.facebook.com/FreeTibetOrg and copies available from Free Tibet.

(2) Location: Dzoge County, Ngaba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, (Chinese: Zoige County, Aba TAP, Sichuan)

(3) Wangchen Dolma http://www.freetibet.org/news-media/na/tibetan-nun-survives-self-immolation-religious-gathering Full list of self-immolators at http://www.freetibet.org/news-media/na/full-list-self-immolations-tibet