Lhasa (AsiaNews) - A young Tibetan, Choepa, 24, died in
Meruma Township, some 20 kilometres from Ngaba (Sichuan Province) after he set
himself on fire on Friday in protest against Chinese repression in Tibet.
Local sources said that Choepa died soon after his
self-immolation. To avoid disorders, the authorities seized the body, eventually
returning his ashes to the family.
Police also surrounded the township to avoid further
unrest or more attempts at self-immolation.
On 23 January, the young man had taken part in a
protest in Meruma, but was able to avoid arrest.
He is the third activist to take his life in
self-immolation in the past week. On 7 August, a woman, Dolkar Tso, set herself
on fire in Kanlho (Gansu province) in front of a monastery. On 6 August, Lobsang
Tsultrim did the same near Kirti Monastery (Ngaba). He died a few days later in
hospital in Barkham.
Since February 2009, 47 Tibetans, both religious and
members of the laity, set themselves on fire to protest against Chinese repression
and Beijing's tight control over religious practices, which includes closing and
opening monasteries at will.
Pro-Tibet activists say that extreme actions will
continue until China's grip on Tibetans does not relent, and this despite the
Dalai Lama's condemnation of self-immolation.
According to Beijing, those who set themselves on fire
are terrorists, rejects or mentally insane, and Tibet's spiritual leader is
largely to blame for encouraging young activists to take their own lives.