Mother of four self-immolates

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Rinchen, a mother of four (1), set fire to herself (2) today at approximately 06:30 local time in Ngaba Town, Ngaba County, Ngaba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Eastern Tibet (3). Rinchen died at the scene.

Rinchen, 32, set fire to herself in front of the police station which has been established by the main gate into Kirti Monastery to monitor the monastery. While in flames Rinchen called out: "Tibet needs Freedom and Gyalwa Rinpochen (the Dalai Lama) needs to return to Tibet".

Local people have taken Rinchen’s body into the monastery.

Free Tibet Director Stephanie Brigden commented:

“A mother of four young children travelled to Ngaba to set fire to herself in the town that has become the heart of both protest and repression in Tibet. Policies to assimilate Tibet into ‘One-China’ have failed utterly: the occupation must end.

“Tibetans are living under de facto martial law. China’s response to protests – which are increasingly widespread – has been to intensify repression and surveillance, pushing Tibet deeper into crisis.”
Ongoing beatings and detentions of Tibetans in Ngaba

According to a source in Tibet, people in Ngaba are being beaten and detained by security personnel, both in the street and in their homes, for no apparent reason other than being Tibetan. This has been ongoing since the first self-immolation last year and it continues.

Large numbers of Chinese state security personnel have been present in Ngaba Town – on the streets, at road blocks, monitoring the monastery (Kirti Monastery), conducting house-to-house searches - since the first self-immolation in March 2011. Ngaba Town and the surrounding area are closed to independent observers and communications, including internet and mobile, have been blocked for much of the last year.

Free Tibet has received recent reports from Ngaba County of an increase in military presence in towns and villages and more monitoring of monasteries in the county, in addition to the 300 officials already stationed at Kirti.
Update on Lobsang Konchok, who self-immolated in Ngaba on 26 September 2011 (4)

Lobsang Konchok is currently in hospital. His family have been denied any visiting rights and have not seen their son since he self-immolated in September 2011. Lobsang has been subject to verbal abuse from doctors and chinese officials including accusations of trying to destroy 'his country'.

Ends

Notes to editors

1) Rinchen’s children are Gyamo,13, Shechun and two others whose names are unknown; the youngest child is only a few months old. Rinchen’s husband died a year ago.

Rinchen’s father is called Rana and her mother Lhako; she had eight siblings.

Rinchen was born in Nagtsangma, a nomadic village, and after marrying her husband moved to Rariwa nomadic village in Cha Township, Ngaba County, approximately 80 kms from Ngaba Town.

2) Over 20 Tibetans have set fire to themselves in protest at Chinese policies since March 2011, many of them in Ngaba. http://www.freetibet.org/newsmedia/selfimmolations

3) Chinese: Aba Town, Aba County, Aba Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan

4) http://www.freetibet.org/newsmedia/two-more-tibetan-monks-set-themselves-alight

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

E: stephanie@freetibet.org

M: +44 7971 479 515