Tibet anniversary marked with teen self-immolation

Monday, 12 March 2012

An 18-year-old has become the latest Tibetan to self-immolate and die in Tibet. Gepey, a monk from Kirti Monastery, set himself on fire on Saturday (10 March), at around 5pm (local time) in Ngaba Town, Ngaba County, Ngaba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Eastern Tibet (1).

Gepey chose to self-immolate on the anniversary of the Tibetan Uprising in 1959. At the same time, thousands of Tibetans, and Tibet supporters, around the world participated in events in solidarity with the people of Tibet.

He is the 26th Tibetan to self-immolate in the last 12 months (2).

The self-immolation took place behind the Ngaba County Military camp in upper Ngaba Town. He is the third Tibetan in a row to self-immolate near government authority buildings; following Dorjee, who self-immolated on 5 March (3) and Rinchen on 4 March (4).

Free Tibet Director Stephanie Brigden said:

“We are now witnessing a pattern of Tibetans setting themselves on fire in front of buildings which symbolise China’s current crackdown in Tibet. Saturday’s self-immolation is the latest in an ever-increasing list of courageous and profound acts which the world cannot continue to ignore.”

Local people tried to take Gepey’s body away but the military and security personnel arrived and removed it. The Chinese authorities refused to allow the traditional funeral rites to take place, for fear that it would give Tibetans a chance to gather and provide an opportunity for further protest against China’s repression.

The family was ordered to have the death ceremony immediately and his body was cremated at 11.30pm (local time) the same evening. Only five monks were allowed to attend the cremation and the cemetery was surrounded by security officers.

More military, paramilitary and police personnel have been deployed in Ngaba Town since Saturday. Local businesses and restaurants are closed today in a mark of solidarity with Gepey’s courageous act.

Ends:

Notes to editors
1. Chinese: Aba Town, Aba County, Aba Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan
2. www.freetibet.org/newsmedia/selfimmolations
3. www.freetibet.org/newsmedia/third-self-immolation-tibet-many-days4. www.freetibet.org/newsmedia/mother-four-self-immolates-tibet

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 7971 479515