02/27/2009, 00.00
TIBET - CHINA
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Tibetan monk killed by Chinese police after setting himself on fire

The monk Tapey poured gasoline on himself and set himself on fire while holding up a photo of the Dalai Lama and chanting slogans. He was shot three times, and died immediately. His body was taken away.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - A Tibetan monk has been killed by the Chinese police after setting himself on fire in Ngaba (Chinese: Aba) in eastern Tibet. According to eyewitnesses, Tapey, who was between 25 and 30 years old, from the monastery of Kirti, died while chanting slogans and holding up a photo of the Dalai Lama. The police shot at him three times, and at least one of the bullets hit him.

Tenzin Choeying, director of the association Students for a Free Tibet, received the news from local sources. He tells AsiaNews: "This news of Tapey's self-immolation is reflective of the depths of frustration of the Tibetans, and the brutality of Tapey being shot clearly shows the brutal repression of the Chinese government. International community, please awaken to the sufferings and the lack of human rights."

Reports from the monastery of Kirti state that Tapey's action came after he and at least a thousand other monks were stopped from entering the grand hall of the monastery for prayers on the third day of the Tibetan New Year (Losar). The youngest monks had decided to remain outside of the monastery, and pray out there. But the older monks advised them to disperse. Immediately afterward, Tapey, soaked in gasoline, came out carrying a large photo of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan flag, went out onto the main road, and set himself on fire.

Three shots were fired immediately, and the young monk collapsed to the ground. His body was taken by a few men, placed in a vehicle, and driven away.

Last year, during the Chinese repression in March, dozens of Tibetans from Ngaba were killed; others disappeared, or were put in prison.

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