Monk dies after setting himself on fire in protest in Tibet

Monday, 15 August 2011

A 29-year-old monk, Tsewang Norbu, also known as Norko, set himself on fire on the Chume Bridge (Ch. Street name Bing He Lu) in the centre of Tawu (Ch. Daofu), Kandze (Ch. Garzi) Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province at 12:30 pm (Tibet local time) today. He has died as a result of his injuries.

Tsewang Norbu drank petrol, sprayed himself with petrol and then set himself on fire. He was heard calling out: “We Tibetan people want freedom”, “Long live the Dalai Lama” and “Let the Dalai Lama Return to Tibet”. He is believed to have died at the scene.

Tsewang Norbu is from Nyitso Monastery in Tawu. The local community celebrated the Dalai Lama’s birthday in their thousands this year and last, despite China’s strict ban on doing so.

Free Tibet Director Stephanie Brigden said:

Today’s news exposes how desperate some Tibetans feel. Tsewang’s death after setting fire to himself has happened less than 6 months after another monk, Phuntsog, set himself on fire on the streets of Ngaba Town in the same region. Following Phuntsog’s death, the Chinese regime deployed troops onto the streets of Ngaba, forcibly removed hundreds of monks, imposed curfews, undertook house searches and set up military road blocks around the town which remain six months later. We have grave concerns over what could unfold in Tawu. In the last few hours telephone lines have been cut and internet cafes closed in an effort to control news spreading across Tibet and to prevent news being shared with the outside world. We have received reports that the army has surrounded the monastery. We call on the Chinese authorities to act proportionately.”

Ends

Notes to Editor

1) Photographs of Tsewang Norbu can be downloaded from : http://www.freetibet.org/node/2345
2) Press release regarding the self immolation of Phuntsog at Kirti Monastery in March 2011 - http://www.freetibet.org/newsmedia/160311-monk-self-immolation

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 interviews with Free Tibet’s Director <a href="http://www.freetibet.org/contact-us">Stephanie Brigden</a> please contact
E: stephanie@freetibet.org
M: +44 (0)7971 479515
T: +44 207 324 4605