20 year-old mother dies after setting herself alight in Tibet

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Jugtso set herself alight outside a monastery in Ngaba, eastern Tibet (1) around 3pm local time today, 16 April. Local witnesses confirmed that she died at the scene. Her body was taken into the monastery where religious ceremonies were conducted. Local authorities have ordered her family to cremate the body tonight, in contravention of Tibetan tradition. Hundreds of members of the local community have gathered near the family home in preparation for the cremation.

Jugtso was married with a three-year-old child.

The monastery has been the location for a number of self-immolation protests, including that of a mother-of-four in March 2013 (2). The last confirmed self-immolation in Tibet was on 26 March (3, 4) but unconfirmed reports suggest that there has been at least one further attempted self-immolation in Yushu County, in protest against destruction of homes and land-grabbing by the authorities as redevelopment takes place after the devastating earthquake in the area on 14 April 2010 (5).

Free Tibet spokesperson Alistair Currie said

“While the intensity of self-immolation protests has diminished in 2013, the death of Jugtso shows that even the full repressive force of the Chinese state cannot deter some Tibetans from this act. Self-immolation is a protest, not a suicide, and until China addresses the grievances of the Tibetan people, protests of all forms will continue in Tibet.”


(1) Location: Dzamthang Jonang Gonchen monastery, Barma Township, Dzamthang County, Ngaba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Eastern Tibet. (Chinese: Zhongrangtang Township, Rangtang County, Aba Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan)
(2) http://www.freetibet.org/news-media/pr/tibetan-man-sets-himself-alight-day-after-mother-four-self-immolates
(3) http://www.freetibet.org/news-media/na/fatal-landslide-highlights-tibets-environmental-destruction (foot of story)
(4) Full list of self-immolators
(5) http://www.freetibet.org/news-media/pr/earthquake-tibet

Free Tibet is an international campaigning organisation that stands for the right of Tibetans to determine their own future. We campaign for an end to the Chinese occupation of Tibet and for the fundamental human rights of Tibetans to be respected.

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