02/20/2012, 00.00
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Another self-immolation in Aba as a Tibetan writer is arrested

An 18-year-old monk sets himself on fire to protest Beijing's repressive policies. A teacher is taken into custody without an arrest warrant. PM Wen Jiabao says suicides undermine the region's stability claiming authors have "no popular support". Monks instead hold funeral wakes for them.

Dharamsala (AsiaNews) - An 18-year-old Buddhist monk set himself on fire yesterday in the Tibetan prefecture of Aba to protest against China's policies in Tibet and demand the return of the Dalai Lama. His suicide brings the number of dead religions to 24, the London-based human rights NGO International Campaign for Tibet reports.

The monk, Nangdrol, was honoured by his community. After his suicide, his fellow monks refused to hand over the body to the authorities. Instead, they organised a funeral service for him that saw the participation of more than a thousand people.

Despite an appeal by the Dalai Lama against self-immolation, suicide by fire appears to be setting spirits ablaze.

Speaking about the problem for the first time, Premier Wen Jiabao said the recent Tibetan protests had "no popular support" and stemmed from "attempts to incite a small number of monks to take extreme acts" in order to undermine Tibet's stability. However, the facts contradict the premier's claims. Although no one intervenes when suicides take place, the deceased are honoured by the entire Tibetan population.

Beijing is concerned the situation in Tibet might get out of hand and has opted for an iron fist policy. As part of its crackdown, it arrested a Tibetan writer last Wednesday in Serthar (Seda) County where, last month, security forces clashed with Tibetan protesters, resulting in the death of two Tibetans.

More than 20 police agents surrounded Gangkye Drubpa Kyat's home and took him away. When his wife asked for a copy of the arrest warrant, the agents told they only wanted to talk to him.

According to the government's version of events, protesters attacked a police station. However, it is unclear whether Drubpa Kyab took part in the protest.

The writer, 33, was born in Serthar and has been a teacher for more than 10 years.

In Tibet, teaching Tibetan language and culture is prohibited. The Chinese language and Han Chinese culture are being introduced to replace the indigenous language and culture.

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See also
Young mother sets herself on fire, bringing number of self-immolations to 115
Self-immolations continue in 2013, Tibetan teenager dies in fire
Tibetan sets himself on fire before India's parliament in New Delhi as more arrests occur in Tibet
In Ngaba, 18-year-old nun dies in self-immolation
Delhi and Beijing talking again as people die in Tibet


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