02/14/2012, 00.00
TIBET - CHINA
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Tibet: 19-year old monk self-immolates. Chinese police arrest activist

Lobsang Gyatso,from Kirti monastery in Ngaba, self-immolated in protest against Beijing’s occupation. Security forces beat him frenetically and extinguished the flames. There is no official confirmation of death. The authorities have arrested Dawa Dorje, a lawyer and defender of the rights of Tibetans.
Dharamsala (AsiaNews) - A young monk of just 19 set himself on fire yesterday afternoon in the Chinese province of Sichuan, in an escalation of protest against the repression imposed by Beijing. This is the second extreme gesture in two days by Tibetan youth (see AsiaNews 13/02/2012 In Ngaba, 18-year-old nun dies in self-immolation) and brings the number of victims to 24 - even though there is no official confirmation of his death - since February 2009. Meanwhile, Chinese authorities have arrested a prominent lawyer who defends the rights of the Tibetan people and culture. Local sources, who denounce the disappearance of Dawa Dorje - government investigator in Nagchu, in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) - last week in the hands of Beijing officials for having expressed concern about "the closure of the monasteries."

Yesterday afternoon, Lobsang Gyatso, of Kirti Monastery in the town of Ngaba, Sichuan province, set himself on fire in the town center. Local sources quoted by the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) and Free Tibet, report that the police intervened, beating him so wildly that they extinguished the flames and took him away. Meanwhile, the Chinese security forces have set up checkpoints throughout the city and launched raids on homes and inhabitants.

Anonymous sources also confirm the detention of the lawyer Dawa Dorje, who was arrested at Gonggar airport in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. Right now, "no further information" is known about the episode and sources say the family "is trying desperately to find the place where he is detained." A friend of Dorje who lives in India, identified by the name of Rabgye, told Radio Free Asia (RFA) that the lawyer had recently visited Sichuan, theatre of recent anti-Chinese violent. "He said - he his friend reports - the major source of concern is the continued closure of monasteries in Driru".

Last weekend more than 200 Tibetans protested in the city of Kyegudo, Yulshul prefecture, while in the city of Kardze activists erected billboards demanding independence for Tibet. In the streets of McLeodganj, a suburb of Dharamsala, Tibetans brandished photos of 22 people in the community who have set themselves on fire in recent years, while a video that portrays images of burning and self-immolation occurred from 2008 to today was shown.

The Dalai Lama and many Buddhist figures have repeatedly called on their followers not to commit these acts and to think in the long term, but they also admitted that the deprivation of freedom of Tibetans which has increased from year to year. The police, on the orders of the communist central government, instead of seeking dialogue and slow deaths, continues to maintain very tight control in the regions inhabited by Tibetans. The regional secretary of the Tibetan Communist Party of China has asked its officials to declare "war on the Dalai Lama’s secessionist ", threatening the officials who did not seek to expel them.
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