Fiery Tibetan protests will continue until West Acts

Friday, 6 January 2012

The first self-immolations of 2012 took place in Tibet today.

Two people set themselves on fire in Tibet this afternoon – the 13th and 14th acts of self-immolation against Chinese oppression since March of last year [1].

An eye-witness account reports that a man set himself on fire near Kirti Monastery in Ngaba Town at around 2.50pm (local time) today. The witness saw the act from a rooftop across the street.

Secondary sources claim that the man, believed to be a lay person, was heard calling for the return of the Dalai Lama before Chinese forces extinguished the flames and removed him. His well-being and whereabouts are unknown.

The second person set themselves on fire nearby at around the same time. A different eye-witness claims that this person died at the scene and their body was taken away by Chinese authorities.

Free Tibet Director Stephanie Brigden said:

“These latest self-immolations confirm that what we are currently witnessing in Tibet is a sustained and profound rejection of the Chinese occupation. It is a damning indictment of the international community that 14 people, in different parts of Tibet, have now chosen to set themselves on fire and the international community has failed to respond.

“We can only expect that such acts of protest will continue for as long as world leaders turn a blind eye to the desperate situation in Tibet.

“People in Ngaba continue to live under security restrictions. Chinese authorities are trying to control all communications. There has been no internet access in the town since the first self-immolation in March 2011 [2] and local people are fearful that their telephones are bugged.

“Despite this, many brave Tibetans continue to disseminate information about what is happening at great personal risk; while the UK government remains silent.

“Next week the UK government will be face-to-face with Chinese officials at the UK-China Human Rights Dialogue. Free Tibet has long believed that this is a cosmetic exercise. The timings of these acts must surely persuade the British government to take a firm line on human rights with China and show that this is not the case.”

Notes to editor:

1 http://www.freetibet.org/newsmedia/2011-review

2 http://www.freetibet.org/newsmedia/160311-monk-self-immolation

3 http://ukinchina.fco.gov.uk/en/about-us/working-with-china/HumanRights/

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.

For further information and interviews please contact Free Tibet’s Director Stephanie Brigden

E: stephanie@freetibet.org
T: +44 (0)20 7324 4605
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