Rights groups have sounded a warning about the worsening situation in Tibet after a fourth Tibetan man self-immolated and died on Friday demanding freedom for his community.
This was the fourth case of self-immolation in the past seven days; the total number of such cases is nearing 60, rights groups said.
Friday’s case comes within two days of the Chinese government blaming the India-based Tibetan spiritual guru Dalai Lama and his “clique” for instigating the large number of protest suicides in remote parts of western China with an ethnic Tibetan population.
“24-year-old Lhamo Tseten walked out of the restaurant where he had been eating with friends and set himself on fire at 2:30 pm (local time) today close to the military camp and the local court building in Achok Township, Sangchu County, Kanlho Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Eastern Tibet. His friends and many local people saw him engulfed by the flames.
According to an eyewitness he called out for freedom in Tibet and for the return of the Dalai Lama,’’ London-based Free Tibet said in a statement. Tseten died at the spot.
According to Associated Press, the official Xinhua News Agency on Friday reported the self-immolation of a Tibetan man by the same name, though details were slightly different. Xinhua said Lhamo Tseten was a 23-year-old villager and that he set himself alight near a hospital.
“This fourth self-immolation in the space of a week underlines that protests in Tibet are continuing and intensifying. We can only expect this to continue until Tibetans are granted the freedom they demand,” Free Tibet’s Stephani Brigden said in the statement.
Meanwhile, according to the US-based International Campaign for Tibet Chinese security authorities have posted notices in some Tibetan areas in western China offering substantial rewards for information about “black hand” behind four recent Tibetan self-immolations in Gansu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.
A reward of $7,700 (which is more than 47000 Yuan) has been offered for information about planned self-immolations.
According to ICT: “The notice reflects the authorities’ hardline position, ascribing blame to the “Dalai clique” and “sabotage by separatist forces in our territory and abroad” for the four self-immolations that have happened in Gannan prefecture in just over a week”.