Family of deceased told to sign letter saying self-immolation “not political”
DHARAMSHALA, March 7: Chinese authorities in Machu, eastern Tibet have set a precondition for the release of Tsering Kyi’s body to her family according to sources in exile.Tsering Kyi‘s body has been lying in the custody of local police after she passed away in her self-immolation protest on Saturday, even as family members and local Tibetans have been demanding possession over the body for last rites.“Chinese authorities have told Tsering Kyi’s family members to sign a letter stating that her self-immolation was not political in nature,” a Tibetan in exile with contacts in the region told Phayul. “Only then they will be allowed to take the body away.”However, Tsering Kyi’s family members have reportedly rejected China’s attempts at covering up the truth behind her self-immolation and warned of protests if they failed to hand over the body.Tsering Kyi, 19, a middle school student torched herself in an apparent protest against the Chinese occupation of Tibet in a busy vegetable market owned by Chinese vendors in Machu on March 3.“In Ngaba and other areas of Tibet, Tibetans are setting themselves on fire. We should also do something. There is no meaning to life if we don’t do something for Tibet,” Tsering Kyi had reportedly said before her protest.Although Tsering Kyi’s family members rejected China’s attempts at depoliticising the fatal incidence, China’s state news agency Xinhua has nevertheless gone ahead in blaming “a head injury” for her drastic decision.“Tsering Kyi had suffered ‘occasional fainting spells’ after hitting her head on a radiator in a classroom, and falling into a coma,” a Xinhua report today said.This is not the first instance where Chinese media have blamed other issues such as “theft” and “bad reputation” as the cause behind self-immolations inside Tibet.With three Tibetans torching themselves to death around the ongoing annual meeting of China’s rubber stamp parliament in Beijing, Chinese officials have renewed accusations, blaming the Dalai Lama and “hostile foreign forces” for inciting “separatist activities.”Li Changping, a senior party official in Sichuan province, was quoted as saying at a panel discussion at the National People's Congress that "separatist activities of the Dalai Lama clique are doomed to fail"."The Dalai Lama clique have made more attempts to split China, a few monks and nuns in the Tibetan-populated regions echoed them at a distance," Li said."But these people can neither represent all Tibetans nor stop the stably-developing trend in these regions."26 Tibetans have set themselves ablaze since 2009 demanding the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile and freedom in Tibet. Many parts of Tibet continue to remain under an undeclared martial law as Tibet has been officially closed to outside visitors, including foreign journalists, until the end of March.
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