Tibet: more self-immolations, the seventh this month in protests against Beijing
Dharamsala (AsiaNews) - A Tibetan set himself on fire in front of a police station, just off the famous Labrang monastery in the Chinese province of Gansu, and died as a result of burns. According to local sources, quoted by Radio Free Asia (RFA), the ultimate gesture was consumed yesterday afternoon around 3:30 pm local time, and is the seventh this month in protest against Beijing's rule in the region. Dorje Rinchen, 58, decided to kill himself on the main street of Labrang close to the monastery on the same name, well known in eastern Tibet for its opposition to China's policies. The monks of Labrang are famous for having staged an anti-Beijing protest in 2008, during the visit of a group of Western journalists.
The tension is still high in Labrang, in the Tibetan Prefecture Kalho, , with Chinese security forces patrolling the streets and busy districts. In the later stages of self-immolation, the police tried to hastily seize body, meeting with the opposition of local citizens. The Tibetans clashed with security agents, eventually recovering the corpse of Dorje Rinchen and bringing it back to his home.
Meanwhile, the Chinese security forces have blocked the monks of Labrang, who were on their way to the house of the victim for a final farewell. In response, the Buddhist monks - together with a group of local residents - recited prayers and hymns in the street, not far from the man's home protected by a rigid police cordon.
Yesterday's self-immolation is the third in recent days in the Chinese province of Gansu and the seventh in the month of October across the Tibetan Autonomous Region. The total number of self-immolations has thus risen to 58 since February 2009, when the protests against what is called "imperialism" of Beijing started, calling for a full religious freedom and to demand the return of the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama .
To curb the drama of monks and ordinary people setting themselves on fire, the Tibetan community in exile decided to meet in plenary session at the end of September, for the first time in four years, to propose a new policy that can help stop this series of suicides. Over 400 Tibetans from all over the world - elected delegates in the various communities of the diaspora - gathered in Dharamsala, the seat of government of the Dalai Lama since his exile from Lhasa.
Instead of adopting a conciliatory policy, the Chinese Communist Party in Tibet has increased its level of repression. The monasteries of the region are under armoured police surveillance The Tibetan language is prohibited, the practice of religion is in fact prevented. The Party has even made self-immolation illegal "carrying a five years prison sentence." The Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of the community, has repeatedly said while he "understands" the motives for sacrifice, he calls on his followers to "stop wasting" their lives.