Tibetan nomad sets fire to himself in Eastern Tibet
A 24-year-old Tibetan nomad called Jopa (1) set fire to himself at 10:15am (local time) today in Meruma, approximately 20 kilometres from Ngaba Town, Ngaba County, Eastern Tibet (2). Jopa set fire to himself to protest China’s occupation of Tibet, according to reports.
Public Security Bureau personnel extinguished the flames and forcibly removed Jopa. His current wellbeing and whereabouts are unknown, but it is believed that he is severely injured and may not survive. Chinese military and security forces have been deployed in the town.
Jopa is the third Tibetan to set fire to himself in protest just this week (4). Nearly 50 Tibetans have set fire to themselves in protest since March 2011 (3).
Free Tibet Director Stephanie Brigden commented on the ongoing tensions in Meruma since protests there in January (5) led to detentions and disappearances (6):
“Like too many Tibetans, Jopa felt he had no recourse other than to set himself on fire to protest against China’s occupation. Since security forces used tear gas against unarmed protesters in Meruma in January, Free Tibet has documented large numbers of detentions and disappearances from the township, fuelling a climate of fear and defiance.
“Across Tibet, people continue to have their human rights violated simply for calling for the freedoms we take for granted.”
Notes to Editors
1) Jopa belongs to the Phallo Household, Ruchen Thangpo [First village]; his father's name is Polo, his mother is Madon.
2) Chinese: Maierma Township, Aba county, Sichuan Province
7) For more information on the uprising in Tibet visit: http://www.freetibet.org/campaigns/tibet-rising
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:
M: +44 7971 479 515
T: +44 207 324 4605