Tibetan cousins call for independence as they set fire to themselves in 6th and 7th self-immolations this week

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Press release

Two young Tibetan men, cousins Tsepo, 20, and Tenzin, 25, set fire to themselves in a protest in their village north of Lhasa (1) at approximately 4pm on Thursday 25 October 2012. Tsepo (2) is reported to have died on the way to the hospital. Tenzin (3) was taken away by government officials; his wellbeing and whereabouts are unknown.

There have been seven self-immolations across a wide area of Tibet this week (4), the highest number in one week since these fiery protests began in 2011 (5).

The cousins called out for independence for Tibet, for all Tibetans to unite as brothers and sisters, and for the return of the Dalai Lama as they set fire to themselves in front of a government building (6) in their village.

Free Tibet Director Stephanie Brigden said:

“It has taken two days for information about this latest protest to emerge. Tibetans in Driru County are being intimidated in both visible and invisible ways.

“Chinese state security forces have been deployed in large numbers across Driru County. The internet and telephones are often blocked and, when they are working, Tibetans are afraid to talk about what is happening because they fear that their communications are being monitored by the government. Given recent disappearances and convictions of up to seven years imprisonment related to charges of sharing information, their fears are likely to be justified.

“Across Tibet, the Chinese state is employing force and intimidation to quell calls for freedom and supress information about protests. The people of Tibet continue to reject Chinese rule despite the state’s use of lethal force against protesters, disappearances, mass detentions, torture, deaths in detention, surveillance of communities and measures aimed at turning Tibetans against each other.”


Ends

Notes to Editors

1) Nagrog Thampa Village, Padkar Township, Driru County, Nagchu Prefecture. (Chinese: Biru County, Naqu Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region)

2) Tsepo’s father is caled Bhuchun, his mother is Dakar.

3) Tenzin’s father is called Nyima, his mother is Lhukgye. Tenzin is reported to have studied in India for several months in 2008.

4) Free Tibet press releases detailing recent protests: http://freetibet.org/news-media/press-releases

5) Full list of Tibetan self-immolations: http://www.freetibet.org/news-media/na/full-list-self-immolations-tibet

6) The building is understood to be an accommodation building for teachers.

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 please contact Free Tibet’s Media Officer Harriet Beaumont:

E: harriet@freetibet.org
M: +44 7900 203 307