02/07/2014, 00.00
TIBET - CHINA
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Qinghai, another self-immolation against Chinese rule in Tibet

In the first of the New Year, a man set himself on fire in the Malho county. Authorities remove his body, but it is unclear whether he is alive or dead. Local source: "All communications blocked, he set himself on fire for the cause".

Dharamsala ( AsiaNews) - A man of Tibetan ethnic origins residing in the northwestern province of Qinghai, set himself on fire to protest Chinese rule in the region. It is the first self-immolation in 2014, which sparked a new wave of repression by the security forces loyal to Beijing. Phagmo Samdrub, 29, staged his protest on February 5th in the vicinity of the school dedicated to the figure of the Panchen Lama in Dokarmo, a town in Malho county. The case was confirmed by an anonymous source to Radio Free Asia.

Phagmo, the source said, "sacrificed his life for the Tibetan cause. His body was immediatly removed by officers. Communication channels throughout the area are blocked, so we do not have other details. I know that he is at the offices of the government of Tsekhog". It is not clear if the man is alive or dead.

Phagmo's protest brings to 126 the total number of Tibetans who have chosen to set themselves on fire (since 2009) to demand an end to Chinese rule in Tibet and the return of the Dalai Lama to his homeland. Beijing has responded to these protests with mounting repression, and is attempting to block the self-immolations through raids on monasteries suspected of sympathizing with independence movements, by closing down communications and limiting the freedom of movement of the local population as much as possible.

The people's courts are also very active, which in the last three months of 2013 sentenced at least six people - including three Buddhist monks - to prison terms ranging from 3 to 15 years in prison on charges of "inciting" friends and faithful to set themselves on fire against the authorities. For his part, the Dalai Lama - the Tibetan Buddhist leader exiled in India - has repeatedly called on his followers to "safeguard the sanctity of life above all else".

 

 

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