08/16/2011, 00.00
TIBET - CHINA
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Tibetan monk sets himself on fire, crying 'Long live the Dalai Lama’

by Nirmala Carvalho
The 29 year old drank and coated himself in gasoline before they setting himself on fire. Almost six months ago, another self-immolation led to a wave of arrests and rehabilitation for the monks. In the area where the suicide took place, phone lines were cut and internet cafes closed. The Chinese military have surrounded the monastery of Tawu.
Dharamsala (AsiaNews) - A young Tibetan monk took his life by setting himself on fire for the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet. Six months ago, in the same region, another Monk made the same gesture. Since then the Chinese authorities have launched a new wave of arrests, checks and re-education sessions.

At 12.30 yesterday, Tsewang Norbu (see photo), a 29 year-old Monk, also known as Nork, set himself on fire at the Chum bridge (Chinese: Binghelu), in the centre of Tawu city (Chinese: Daofu), in the Autonomous prefecture Kandze (Chinese: Gandze) in Sichuan.

According to witnesses, Tsewang drank gasoline, coated himself in the inflammable liquid clothes and set himself on fire, shouting "We Tibetans want freedom," "Long live the Dalai Lama", "Let the Dalai Lama return to Tibet".

Tsewang Norbu Nyitso belonged to the monastery in Tawu. The local community had celebrated the birthday of the Dalai Lama even though China had banned it.

This is the second self-immolation to take place in Sichuan in a few months. Last March, a young monk called Phuntsog set himself on fire near the Kirti monastery of (county of Aba), 200 km from Tawu.

According to Free Tibet to defuse protests and tensions after the death of Phuntsog Chinese authorities moved hundreds of monks, set up checkpoints and inspected homes and monasteries. The area was closed to foreigners. At the same time, the government began mandatory "legal education courses" for the monks to repudiate the so-called "illegal activities". These include the singing of hymns to the Dalai Lama, the public display of his picture, or campaigning for the independence of Tibet.

The director of Free Tibet, Stephanie Bridgen fears a wave of arrests and controls also in Tawu. "In these hours - she said - the phone lines were cut and Internet cafes have been closed to stop the spread of news in Tibet and around the world. There are also reports that Chinese troops have surrounded the monastery. We ask the Chinese government to act in a proportionate manner and with moderation. "
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