Tibetan Self-Immolates in China’s Qinghai, Prompting Security Clampdown

Posted September 30th, 2012 at 4:50 pm (UTC-5)
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Tibetan sources tell VOA that a Tibetan man has set himself on fire in western China's Qinghai province, in a protest against Chinese rule, prompting a security clampdown in the area.

The incident happened late Saturday in Zadoi county of Qinghai's Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.

The sources in Yushu and in the Tibetan exile hub of Dharamsala in northern India say the 27-year old man named Yungdung self-immolated while wearing traditional Tibetan attire and walking past several Chinese shops. They said he shouted slogans calling for Tibetan independence and accusing China of “destroying” Tibetan religion.

This latest protest raises the number of self-immolations in Tibetan regions of China to 52 since March 2009. The Tibetan government-in-exile says 41 of those cases resulted in deaths.

One source, a Dharamsala-based Tibetan exile from Yushu, said Chinese shopkeepers threw water on Yungdung to try to put out the fire. Kunchok Tashi said Chinese authorities took the Tibetan man to a hospital where he was treated for severe burns. Tashi also said Chinese security forces filled the streets after the protest and imposed a curfew. It was not clear if the man survived.

A group of 400 Tibetan exiles ended a meeting in Dharamsala last Friday with a call for Tibetans to end self-immolations. The exiles said Tibetan activists should consider their lives as precious and contribute to the Tibetan cause.

China accuses Tibetan exiles of inciting the self-immolations as a part of a separatist struggle.