Tibetans go into hiding as military approach

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Terrified Tibetans in Ngaba Prefecture in Tibet (1) are going into hiding today as military personnel arrive in Kangsta Township, Dzoge County (2) in response to a protest by a young Tibetan man, Kalsang Kyab.

Kalsang Kyab, a 24-year-old layperson, died after setting fire to himself at approximately 7pm (local time) today in front of the Kangsta Township government building. His body was taken to his home in Dowa Mege Village.

Free Tibet Director Stephanie Brigden commented:

“Free Tibet has well-founded concerns for the safety of the people of Kangsta Township. China is responding with disproportionate and sometimes lethal force to protests across Tibet. Only yesterday, more than 20 Tibetan students ended up in hospital, several requiring emergency treatment, after armed security forces beat peaceful protesters with rifle butts. It is no wonder that the people of Ngaba are going into hiding.

“We may not have access to the same technicolor details about the situation inside Tibet as we do about other crises in the world, but that does not make the crisis any less vivid for the Tibetans who are living it. Despite China’s best efforts, Tibetans continue to share information about their situation with the world beyond their borders. We call on world leaders to urge China to allow access to Tibet for the media, human rights monitors and international representatives.”

Free Tibet is receiving information of protests from across an ever-widening area of Tibet on a daily basis. As well as street protests and solo protests, at least sixty-eight Tibetans have set fire to themselves in protest during 2012, twenty-one of them in November alone. Because of restrictions on information, it is not always possible to confirm details of protests immediately (3).

Free Tibet also received information today confirming that a third Tibetan set himself on fire in protest yesterday (4). Gonpo Tsering, 24, called for freedom and human rights in Tibet as he set fire to himself outside the prayer hall of Alak Deu-go Monastery in Alak township, Luchu County, Kanlho Prefecture, Eastern Tibet (5). Gonpo Tsering, who was married with three children, also called out for the return to Tibet of the Dalai Lama.

Notes to editors
1. Chinese: Jiangzha Township, Ruoerge County, Aba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province.

2. There has been an oppressive Chinese military and security forces presence in Ngaba Prefecture since the first self-immolation there in March 2011. There have been further self-immolations and protests in the region since then. See Free Tibet press releases for further information : http://www.freetibet.org/news-media/press-releases

3. Free Tibet can confirm the death of Tamding Dorjee, 29, after he set fire to himself in front of the local Chinese administrative office in Dokarmo Town, Tsekhog County, Malho, Eastern Tibet on 23 November 2012.
Full list of Tibetan self-immolations since 2009: http://freetibet.org/news-media/na/full-list-self-immolations-tibet

4. http://www.freetibet.org/news-media/pr/tibetan-protests-continue-xi-jinping-era

5. Luqu County, Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu Province.

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 further information and interviews please contact Free Tibet’s Director Stephanie Brigden:
T: +44 (0)20 7324 4605
M: +44 (0)7971 479515
E: Stephanie@freetibet.org
S: stephaniefreetibet