Tibetan schoolgirl self-immolates

Monday, 5 March 2012

Tsering Kyi, a 20-year-old student (1), set herself on fire late in the afternoon on Saturday 3 March 2012 at a vegetable market in Nyima Town, Machu County, Ganlho Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Eastern Tibet (2).

Just days before she set fire to herself, Tsering Kyi was in her home town (3) for the school holidays and commented:

“In Ngaba and other areas of Tibet, Tibetans are burning themselves. We should do something for Tibet – life is meaningless if we don’t do something for Tibet.”

Tsering Kyi prepared for the self-immolation in the market area, pouring petrol over herself and setting herself on fire as she walked into the public marketplace. While she was in flames she raised her hand above her head in a fist several times. Tsering died at the scene.

Chinese market vendors alerted the police to the self-immolation. The police arrived and sealed the market area off; no one was allowed to leave the area until after 9pm local time. The authorities alleged to those present that Tsering Kyi had set fire to herself for personal reasons and that it was not a political act.

Her body was removed by the police to the county police station and Tsering Kyi’s family was informed.

Free Tibet Director Stephanie Brigden commented:

“More and more young Tibetan women and men, many of whom have never been political, are now taking action for a free Tibet in solidarity with those before them.

“For Tibetans like Tsering Kyi and Rinchen, who both self-immolated this weekend in calls for freedom for Tibet, and for the large numbers of Tibetans who are risking their lives in protests against Chinese policies, President Hu’s emphasis on enhancing social security and improving well-being at the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference is meaningless.”


Notes to editor

1) Tsering Kyi was a senior student at the Machu County Tibetan middle school in Nyima (Chinese Ni Ma).

2) Chinese: Ni Ma (the capital of Maqu County), Maqu County, Gansu province

3) Draktho Village, MemaTownship (Chinese: Zhi he tao, Man ri ma)

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:

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