Jigme Tenzin confirmed as Tibetan self-immolation protester in Rebkong on March 16

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Free Tibet media release
25 March 2014, immediate use

Communications clampdown, arrests and severe beatings after monk’s fatal protest

One of two Tibetans to set themselves alight on 16 March in protest against Chinese rule has been named as Jigme Tenzin. His protest in Tsekhog county eleven days ago was reported in a number of outlets but further details were previously unavailable.

As previously reported (1), Lobsang Palden also self-immolated on 16 March (in Ngaba) and, in a separate development, his death has been confirmed (see below).

Jigme Tenzin was in his late twenties and was a monk from Rongbo monastery of Rebkong county. His self-immolation took place around 6 am local time on March 16 near Shador monastery in neighbouring Tsekhog county (2), which he was visiting.

Jigme Tenzin had already died when the monks from Shador monastery found him. They then performed funeral rituals for him and informed the police of his protest.

In response, police arrested fourteen monks from Shador (previously known as Sonag) monastery, of whom eleven remain in detention. Monks were severely beaten in custody.

Security personnel were stationed in the monastery where monks were placed under “house arrest”, with contact between monks and the local community forbidden. A “political re-education” campaign has been imposed on the monastery and is expected to last one hundred days.

Jigme Tenzin was from Ngakar village in Tsekho county. His two brothers were arrested on 18 March because of his self-immolation and released on 23 March. Jigme Tenzin's father had appealed to security forces not to punish Shador monastery and was arrested on 22 March. His current whereabouts are unknown. The authorities have refused permission for religious rituals to be conducted at Jigme's home.

In a separate development, details of the death of Lobsang Palden (photos available, 3) have also emerged. He died on 21 March 2014 in a hospital in Barkham, Ngaba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, following his separate self-immolation protest on 16 March . His family had sought his body to conduct appropriate funeral ceremonies but the authorities cremated him and returned only his ashes.

Free Tibet director Eleanor Byrne-Rosengren said:

“China’s response to Tibetan protest is always the further abuse of Tibetans’ human rights. Protests will only end when China addresses the grievances of the Tibetan people. Jigme Tenzin’s father and the monks arrested in Shador monastery must be released immediately and the ‘political re-education’ programme stopped. China must learn that its relentless curbs on religious freedom in Tibet are as counterproductive as they are unjustifiable.”

Information and translation provided by Tibet Watch.

-ends-

For further information or comment, contact Alistair Currie:
E: alistair@freetibet.org
T: +44 (0)207 324 4605

Notes for editors

(1) Free Tibet press release 16 March http://www.freetibet.org/news-media/pr/monk-self-immolates-tibet-anniversary-fatal-shootings
(2) Location: Shakdor monastery, Tsekho county, Malho Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province (Ch: Zeku County, Huangnang TAP, Qinghai). Small photograph of Jigme Tenzin with other monks available from Free tibet.
(3) Portrait and protest photos at https://www.flickr.com/photos/freetibetorg/sets/72157642484374995/

Full list of confirmed self-immolation protests at http://www.freetibet.org/news-media/full-list-self-immolations-tibet.