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Another self-immolation by a Tibetan monk in Sichuan

Tibet's exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, accompanied by his translator Mathieu Ricard (R), gives a public conference in Toulouse, southwestern France, August 15, 2011. The Dalai Lama is in France from August 13-15 to hold teaching seminars. - REUTERS IMAGES
by B.Raman

(August 16, Chennai, Sri Lanka Guardian) Reportedly angered by the Chinese curbs on the celebration of the birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama last month, Tsewang Norbu, a 29-year-old Tibetan Buddhist monk from the Nyitso monastery in the Dawu town of the Sichuan Province of China, has committed self-immolation on August 15,2011.

2. China’s official Xinhua news agency has confirmed the incident, saying “It was unclear why he had burnt himself.”

3. Reliable reports from Tibetan sources in the Sichuan province say that he committed self-immolation after shouting slogans condemning the suppression of the Tibetans by the Chinese and praising His Holiness.

4.According to the Tibetan sources, he committed self-immolation outside a building housing local Government offices. Subsequent reports say that the Chinese security forces have surrounded the monastery and have been demanding that the monks in the monastery should hand over his dead body to the police for investigation and that the monks have been refusing to do so. This would indicate that before the Police could intervene, the other monks had probably managed to take the remains of the monk inside the monastery.

5. This is the second incident of self-immolation by a Tibetan Buddhist monk reported from the Sichuan province this year. In March last, a monk of the Kirti monastery committed self-immolation to protest against the Chinese rule. His self-immolation led to a long confrontation between the Chinese security forces and the inmates of the monastery. The security forces accused some of the monks of visiting prostitutes or inviting prostitutes inside the monastery. About 300 of the monks have since been kept in a military-run detention centre where they are subjected to “re-education” classes.

6. The Chinese authorities have repeatedly rejected the appeals of international human rights organisations for permission to visit the detention centre to enquire about the welfare of the detained monks. 

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre for China Studies. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com .Twitter: @SORBONNE75 ) 

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