DHARAMSHALA: A Tibetan man, Sangye Khar, aged 34, set himself on fire yesterday around 9 am (local time) in front of a police station in Amchok town, Sangchu county in Kanlho Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture (incorporated into China’s Gansu Province). He died on the spot, according to media reports and human rights group.
Police arrived shortly after the self-immolation and forcibly removed his body. Sangye Khar was the father of two daughters. He was from Khyungri Thang village, reported London based rights group Free Tibet.
The Chinese police refused to hand over Sangye’s body to his family members despite strong protest from the local Tibetans, Radio Free Asia reported.
Security in Amchok town has been tightened and all the communication channels are being restricted following the self-immolation protest, it said.
133 Tibetans have set themselves on fire in protest against the repressive policies of the Chinese government in Tibet since 2009. Most of the self-immolators have called for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet and freedom for Tibetans.
On 14 November this year, an anonymous testimony by the survivor of a self-immolation protest reads: “Compared to other countries, we don’t have freedom of religious belief, freedom of speech, and our spiritual leader cannot return home. The restrictions are ongoing. I was unable to bear the suffering of living under Chinese aggression, so I thought about a self-immolation protest.”
The Central Tibetan Administration in Dharamshala has repeatedly appealed to Tibetans inside Tibet not to resort to drastic forms of protest including self-immolation.
The CTA released a White Paper titled “Why Tibet is Burning...” last year explaining the fundamental reasons behind the ongoing wave of self-immolations inside Tibet. The principle reasons listed in the 91-page report for Tibet’s fiery protests are political repression, Chinese communist leader’s views and policies on Tibet, and cultural assimilation, destruction of Tibetan Buddhism. Besides, social discrimination, strangling the Tibetan language, environment destruction, Tibetan Nomads and ending their way of life and economic marginalisation, population transfer and western China Development Programme are the other reasons given in the report.