03/13/2012, 00.00
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Tibet more protests: 18-year old monk self immolates to commemorate Dalai Lama’s flight

Gepey belonged to the Kirti monastery in Sichuan province. He self-immolated in conjunction with the 59th anniversary of the Dalai Lama's flight from the Himalayan region. The Chinese authorities have seized the corpse and arrested his mother for questioning. Last week, six other monks arrested for "anti-Chinese activities".

Dharamsala (AsiaNews / Agencies) - A young Tibetan monk set himself on fire in protest against Chinese rule in the autonomous region and died of his serious injuries. The incident occurred March 10 last in Aba, a town in Sichuan province, in conjunction with the 53rd anniversary of Tibet's uprising bloodily repressed by Beijing which ended with the flight of the Dalai Lama. The news has emerged only now through the strict censorship imposed by the Chinese government, thanks to the complaint of the activist group Free Tibet, based in London. Meanwhile, last week, Chinese police arrested six Tibetan monks for protesting against Beijing. They distributed leaflets extolling independence and showing pictures and movies of self-immolations, one of them, the 38-year monk Khedrub Dorje of Ganzi County , was "severely beaten" and then "locked up".

According to sources of Free Tibet, the 18 year old monk Gepey belonged to the monastery of Kirti, the scene of several anti-Chinese protests in recent years and many self immolations. He died after setting himself on fire behind a military camp, some villagers have tried to take the corpse away, but Chinese security forces intervened clearing the area and removing the young man's remains.

The local leaders of the Communist Party say they had no information about the incident, the district police do not respond to calls, while at the Kirti monastery has released no statements and every phone call is interrupted when questions are asked about recent self immolations.

The Chinese authorities have denied Aba permission for the traditional funeral for monk Gepey, to avoid crowds and possible new protests. Security officials also detained the boy's mother for questioning for two days. The woman was released only yesterday, but was unable to attend the funeral of her son.

Gepey is the third Tibetan this month to set himself on fire near buildings belonging to the Chinese authorities. The tragic gesture of 18 year old monk coincided with the bloody uprising in Tibet on 10 March 1959, suppressed by Chinese troops, which ended with the adventurous escape of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan leadership from the Himalayan region.

Last year alone more than 24 Tibetans (at least 27 since 2009), among them many young people, have chosen self-immolation to protest against the rigid censorship and the strict control imposed by Beijing, which oversees the practice of worship and the opening and closing of the monasteries. The Dalai Lama has always emphasized that he is "not encouraging" these extreme forms of protest, but he has praised the "courage" of those who make this ultimate gesture, the result of "cultural genocide" is taking place in Tibet by China.


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