Following the self-immolation of a young monk from Kirti monastery today (1), Free Tibet has received information from an eye witness that over one thousand monks sat outside the gates of Kirti monastery, joined by between 300 to 400 lay people, deliberately obstructing Chinese police from entering the monastery. Butter lamps were lit and prayers offered for Phuntsog as rumours spread that he had died (this remains unconfirmed). The crowd dispersed at approximately 11pm.
Earlier the Abbott of the monastery, the leader of Democratic Management Committee (2) and the Discipline Master attended the local police station to appeal for the release of monks from Kirti monastery who had been detained in the protests that followed Phuntsog’s self-immolation. Of the seven monks released, three or four had been detained a few days beforehand from an internet cafe. The reason for their arrests is unknown. March is usually marked by increased restrictions on communications and freedom of movement and an increased military presence in Tibetan areas, as Tibetans mark the National Uprising against China’s occupation.
More than 40 Tibetans have now set themselves on fire in protest at the repressive Chinese occupation of their country. See the full list.
Notes to Editor
Free Tibet is an international campaigning organisation that stands for the right of Tibetans to determine their own future. We campaign for an end to the Chinese occupation of Tibet and for the fundamental human rights of Tibetans to be respected.
(2) Each Tibetan monastery and nunnery has a Democratic Management Committee (DMC) that functions as an administrative interface with the state. DMCs replaced traditional monastic bodies which for centuries had overseen all religious and administrative aspects of monastic life.
For further information and interviews please contact Free Tibet’s Director Stephanie Brigden
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