Thousands gather following Tibetan mother’s protest

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Thousands of Tibetans gathered in Rongwo, capital of Rebkong County, Malho Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Eastern Tibet (1) following the death of a Tibetan mother of two, Chakmokyi (2), who set fire to herself at 4pm local time today. Free Tibet Director Stephanie Brigden said: “With one voice, Tibetans are calling again and again for freedom, determined that they will achieve change. The extent of protests, which are now happening on a daily basis, is clear evidence of Tibetans’ absolute rejection of Chinese rule. “How many more protests will China try to crush before the Communist Party recognises Tibet belongs to Tibetans? How many more Tibetans will the world watch die in this way before clear, strong steps are taken to resolve this crisis?” At 6:30pm local time, thousands of monks and local people gathered at a well known cremation site in Rongwo (3) and chanted prayers for the long life of the Dalai Lama during the cremation of Chakmokyi. There is a heavy security presence in Rongwo. At least 20 trucks, each with 20 armed police standing in the back, are stationed at intersections throughout the town, plain clothes police are commonplace, and there are reports of cars, each with about five government officials inside, positioned every twenty paces along most streets, monitoring the population. Rongwo has been the scene of several huge protests this year, as well as a growing number of self-immolations (4). Ends Notes to Editors 1) Chinese: Tongren, Huangnan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province. 2) Chakmokyi was a taxi driver with two children. She was from Khagya village, Thogya town (Chinese: Bo-an Den), in Rebkong County. 3) Dhongya-lay cremation site is where others who have self-immolated in Rongwo have also been cremated this year. 4) Press releases covering Rongwo protests in March 2012, the largest in Tibet since 2008: Free Tibet press releases detailing recent protests: Full list of Tibetan self-immolations: 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. For interviews and further information please contact Free Tibet’s Director Stephanie Brigden: E: M: +44 7971 479 515 S: stephaniefreetibet