Lhasa (AsiaNews) - A 22 year old Tibetan student set himself on fire outside the Tsoe count police headquarters to protest against Chinese rule in the region. Tashi Lhamo died on the spot, shouting slogans in support of the Dalai Lama. His self-immolation, which took place on September 17, is the first in the area for about 5 months: a total of 132 Tibetans have now chosen this extreme form of protest since 2009.
A local source told Radio Free Asia: "Tashi sacrificed his life for the freedom of Tibet and was burned to death. At first, the authorities confiscated his body and did not want to show it to his family, but the day after his death they handed him over to his relatives". A second source, anonymous for security reasons, said that the victim was studying in Tsoe: "He was one of those who protested against Chinese rule in 2008 was arrested and then released."
The March 2008 clashes shook the province.
The protests marked the anniversary of
the Lhasa uprising against Beijing - which took place in March 1959, and was violently
repressed - and cost the lives of nearly 220 people. Over the following months the central government arrested more than
7 thousand Tibetans, condemning more than 1,000 to imprisonment, while proceeding
with the preparation of the Beijing
The Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, has repeatedly asked believers not to choose death as a form of protest. In June of 2013 he also pointed out that the self-immolations "do not have a big impact" on China's policies in Tibet and called on Beijing to "try to understand the root causes of this protest." In response, China closed down the region, increasing controls on internal travel and life in the monasteries, and passed new laws that harshly punish anyone who aids the protesters.