03/20/2017, 09.45
TIBET - CHINA

First Tibetan immolation of 2017: a young 24 year old sets himself on fire

The victim, Pema Gyaltsen, was a farmer. His family beaten by police in Kardze. He is the 147 immolation since 2009. He called for the return of the Dalai Lama and for freedom in Tibet.

Dharamsala (AsiaNews) - In protest against Chinese rule over Tibet and the return of the Dalai Lama, a young 24-year old Tibetan set himself on fire in Nyarong (Kham province), near the Tsoka monastery, in the Chinese region of Sichuan.

The self-immolation occurred two days ago at 4 pm. It is the first of 2017, the 147th since 2009, since the beginning of this deadly type of protest.

The young man (see photo) was named Pema Gyaltsen, known among friends and family as Pegyal and he was a farmer. Pema was the eldest of five children. His father's name is Wangyal and his mother Yullha. The young man had not attended any school and supported his family.

His whereabouts is unknown. Some sources say that the police immediately took him away to a hospital in Chengdu (Sichuan) and is alive. Another says that the young man died from burns. At present no one knows where his body is.

In a video that was shot on social networks Tibetans see Chinese police evict those present around the young man and women are heard screaming. A source says that in RFA "in the evening about 10 relatives of Pema Gyaltsen went to the police station of Kardze County" to visit him and to find out about him. But the police "beat them wi and imprisoned them for the night forcing them to stay standing." The next day, yesterday, they were released. Some of them could not even walk because of their beating.

According to another source, before setting himself on fire the young man shouted for "the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet and said that there is no freedom in the country." From exile, the Dalai Lama has often asked young people to save their lives and use it for a more constructive and less desperate form of protest.

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