A new case of self-immolation has been reported from Gansu province in northwest China, advocacy groups said on Friday, adding that it has taken the number of fiery protests by ethnic Tibetans within the country against Beijing’s hard-line rule to 101.
Rights groups, quoting
Tibetan sources in exile and Radio Free Asia’s Tibetan language service, said Drugba Khar, in his ‘20s and father of three children doused himself with petrol and set himself afire in Amchok town in Gansu province on February 13. He died of his burn injuries.
“The self-immolations of Drugpa Khar and Lobsang Namgyal (on February 3) occurred following the imposition of harsher and more systematic measures that have been imposed by the Chinese authorities to deter protests, including charges of ‘intentional homicide’ against Tibetans accused of “inciting” self-immolations,” the Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) said.
It added: “Tibetan New Year (Losar) is traditionally marked by celebrations with family and friends, but for the past four years since the crackdown intensified in Tibetan areas Tibetans have chosen not to celebrate but to mark the festival with prayer.”
About the case of Lobsang Namgyal, ICT said he was described by Kirti monks-in-exile in contact with Tibetans who knew him as an “exemplary” monk.
The Kirti monks in Dharamsala who are monitoring the case reported: “Lobsang Namgyal suddenly disappeared for about two weeks in September 2012. His classmates and relatives searched for him, but were unable to find him, and later came to know that he had been detained by Ngaba county police”
Chinese authorities have lately intensified its crackdown against self-immolations arresting nearly 80 ethnic Tibetans and sentencing many to years in prison.
Late last month eight ethnic Tibetans including a monk were convicted on charges of “intentional homicide” in two separate court verdicts for allegedly inciting people to self-immolate.
The accused were sentenced to three to 12 years in prison; in one case the accused monk was given a suspended death sentence.
Rights groups have decried the arrests and convictions alleging that confessions were often extracted under duress.