Teenage monk sets himself on fire as Tibetans gather to prevent detentions

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

An 18-year-old Tibetan monk set himself on fire and died in Tibet today. Lobsang Lobzin self-immolated at midday (local time) inside Tsodun Kirti Monastery in Barkham County, Ngaba Autonomous Prefecture (1).

Chinese forces are now making their way to the monastery but local Tibetans have gathered to prevent them from proceeding. This human shield aims to prevent the forcible removal of monks who are held in such high esteem by the local community.

These fears are well-grounded; in April 2011, more than 300 monks were forcibly taken from Kirti Monastery in Ngaba town following a self-immolation by a monk there (2).

Free Tibet has received a portrait picture of Lobsang Lobzin (3) as well as an image of him on fire (4).

Free Tibet Director Stephanie Brigden said:

“The brave people who are trying to prevent Chinese forces from detaining their fellow Tibetans demonstrate the strength of the spirit of protest in Tibet.

“The calls for freedom in Tibet are now overwhelming and the international community must make a stand and tell China that it is time to let Tibetans decide their own future.”

More than 40 Tibetans have now set themselves on fire in protest at the repressive Chinese occupation of their country (5).

Lobsang Lobzin was admitted to the Tsodun Kirti Monastery at a very young age. His body is currently being held there and there are plans to cremate him tonight. Two other monks from the same monastery also set themselves on fire in March (6).

Ends

Notes to editors
1. Chinese: Maerkang County, Aba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture
2. http://freetibet.org/newsmedia/monksremoved
3. http://www.flickr.com/photos/freetibetorg/7589546564/in/photostream
4. http://www.flickr.com/photos/freetibetorg/7589546412/in/photostream (warning: this link contains a graphic image)
5. http://www.freetibet.org/newsmedia/selfimmolations
6. http://www.freetibet.org/newsmedia/two-young-monks-self-immolate-0

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
M: +44 (0)7971 479 515
T: +44 (0)207 324 4605