03/29/2012, 00.00
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20 year old Monk dies in self immolation: sacrifices for the "Tibetan Spring"

The tragedy took place last night in the town of Chara. The young man died on the spot and the Chinese police seized the corpse, closing down the whole area. Director of Free Tibet: the sacrifice of the Tibetans for freedom, in the deafening silence of the international community.

Dharamsala (AsiaNews) - A 20-year old monk died yesterday after he set himself on fire, the last act of a long series of sacrifices that are characterizing the "Tibetan Spring". Local sources report that at 7.10 in the evening Lobsang Sherab self-immolated in the town of Chara, Ngaba county, eastern Tibet, the Chinese province of Sichuan. First the 20-year old belonging to Kirti Monastery - the scene of numerous protests and burnings in recent months - set himself on fire shouting slogans against Beijing's "discriminate" policies against Tibetans, and then he died.

Local sources report that "two Tibetans in the area tried to remove the corpse," but it was taken by the Chinese security forces "who prevented them from taking the body ". Officials have also ordered the closure of shops and businesses in the area for "precautionary reasons".

Last night's was the second self-immolation in the town of Chara, about 70 km from Ngaba, in this month. On 5 March an 18 year old named Dorjee set himself on fire and died. Police have imposed a strict control and will not return the corpse to the family for the funeral. Local sources confirm the tense situation and do not exclude other similar incidents happening again in the near future.

Interviewed by AsiaNews Stephanie Brigen, director of Free Tibet, said that "more than 30 Tibetans have set themselves on fire for freedom" and many "thousands are taking to the streets." Connecting the pro-democracy movements in Arab countries and in North Africa, the activist adds that "Tibetan Spring" has begun  while "the international community remains silent, how many other Tibetans - she wonders - have to sacrifice even their lives , for the international community to break its silence? ".

Last year alone more than 24 Tibetans (at least 27 since 2009), including many young people, have chosen to self-immolate to protest against the strict control imposed by Beijing, which oversees the practice of worship and the opening and closure of the monasteries, and to demand the return of the spiritual leader of Tibetans. In contrast, the Dalai Lama has always emphasized he is "not encouraging" these extreme forms of protest, but he praised the "courage" of those who make the ultimate gesture, the result of the "cultural genocide" that is taking place in Tibet at the hands of China. (NC)



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