Another Tibetan attempts immolation, the number of protesters stand at 8 now

Dharamshala, October 15: A 19 year old Tibetan man from Ngaba County in today’s Sichuan Province on Saturday attempted immolation in yet another protest apparently expressing discontent with Beijing’s rule of Tibet, taking the number of immolation protests to 8 this year.

Sources with close links to residents in the troubled region of Ngaba while confirming the news, said the protester is critically injured but has survived immolation.

“A 19 year old Tibetan youth named Norbu Dadul from Ngaba set himself on fire around 11:50 (Beijing time) while voicing pro-Tibet slogans,” Kanyak Tsering and Lobsang Yeshi monks of exile-based Kirti monastery who closely monitor the situation inside the region said in a statement.

“Dadul raised slogans demanding independence for Tibet and the return of Dalai Lama to Tibet as he set himself ablaze,” they added.

Witnesses at the scene of the protest told sources here that several Chinese police arrived at the time and used fire extinguishers to douse the flame on Dadul who was severely beaten before being rushed in a small police jeep to an undisclosed location.

“Dadul has sustained sever burn injuries but he is alive while being taken away,” witnesses told the sources here.

Dadul, who used to be a monk of the restive Kirti monastery until last year, is the eight Tibetan this year to burn himself to protest Beijing’s rule of Tibet which was annexed by the ruling communist regime in 1959 in a military operation that China claims mark the liberation of Tibet. Tibetans however maintain it is an occupation of their land.

Until recently, protests involving self-immolation are relatively unheard of and extremely rare among Tibetans who mostly follow Buddhism that teaches against the practice of taking one’s life. This year however saw a spate of self-immolation protests by Tibetans mostly young and monks – a growing trend that rights groups say is a measure of the desperation felt by the Tibetans under China’s repressive policies in Tibet.

“Tibetans in Tibet are driven to these drastic acts to resist political repression, cultural assimilation, economic marginalization and environmental destruction,” the Tibetan government-in-exile said earlier this week.

Listing the names of protesters who have succumbed during the immolation past this year, Tibetan government-in-Exile said; “On March 16, 2011, Lobsang Phuntsok (age 21), a monk of Kirti Monastery in northeastern Tibet. The second reported case, on August 15, 2011 was that of Tsewang Norbu, (age 29), a monk at Nyitso monastery in eastern Tibet. The third and the fourth cases were Khaying (age 18), and Choephel (age 19), both former monks of Kirti Monastery. They self-immolated on October 7, 2011 and died on October 8 and 11 respectively.”

“The conditions of the three others, namely Lobsang Kelsang (age 18), Lobsang Kunchok (age 19) and Kelsang Wangchuk (age 17) are still unknown,” the exile government said while adding that it is deeply concerned about their whereabouts and well-being.

Taking note of the immolation protests increasingly being reported from Tibet, the Tibetan cabinet and parliament, in a joint initiative, is launching a “worldwide solidarity campaign” on October 19 to highlight the issue and to urge international bodies to exert pressure on China to ease the “on-going repression in Tibet.

“On October 19, 2011, the Central Tibetan Administration will offer day-long prayers and encourage all Tibetans to fast on that day as a gesture of solidarity with Tibetans in Tibet,” it said.

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