Self-immolation and protests spread to new Tibetan prefecture

Thursday, 9 February 2012

A monk in his 30s set fire to himself on the main road of La Township, Tridu County, Jyekundo Autonomous Prefecture (Ch: Chenduo County, Yushu Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai) yesterday, 8 February, between 1 and 2pm local time (1). Eye-witnesses report that he was alive but in a serious condition when he taken away by security personnel.

Earlier on 8 February, in Zathod Township, also in Tridu County, approximately 50 monks began a protest, calling for the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet, for respect for Tibetan intellectuals and for the immediate release of the Panchen Lama (2). The monks had heard about the global vigils for Tibet (3) through radio broadcasts and this is what prompted them to protest. They marched from the local monastery but were stopped by police at the bridge between the monastery and the township. At this point, up to 300 more monks joined them. This larger group of monks continued marching for an estimated one kilometre when they were again stopped by police. The protest continued until 3pm when the monks returned to the monastery.

A few days earlier, on 4 February in the same Township, at approximately 4pm, four young men in their 20s protested in front of Zathod Township Police Office shouting slogans. They were taken away by police. The wellbeing and whereabouts of these four men are unknown.

Prior to these protests, local people in Zathod Township had discussed not celebrating New Year to show solidarity with recent protestors and Tibetans who have self-immolated in other areas.

Free Tibet Director Stephanie Brigden said:

“Tibetans are taking to the streets in increasing numbers and choosing to set fire to themselves to protest Chinese policies across an ever widening area. Despite the evident risks inherent in defying China’s one-state ideology – five shot dead and many more wounded in the last weeks – Tibetans are standing and speaking up for freedom in solidarity with their fellow countrymen.”


Notes to editors

1) This is the 21st Tibetan to set fire to themselves in protest at Chinese policies since March 2011

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:
M: +91 988 2452 801