Tibetan woman self-immolates after authorities bulldoze houses

Friday, 28 August 2015

Tashi Kyi set herself alight on the night of 27 August 2015 in her home village, Ngulra, in Gansu Province, eastern Tibet (1).

Local people tried to extinguish the fire but she died later, around 3am (local time) on 28 August. Around dawn, police came to her house and forcefully took away her body.

Tashi Kyi (age unknown) self-immolated following the arrival of 150 police and officials in Ngulra who then began demolishing houses there with bulldozers.

One source reported that the reason given by officials was that the houses did not have valid permits. A number of the house-owners protested, with some physically hanging on to the demolition equipment. Ngulra residents believe Tashi Kyi’s self-immolation was motivated by witnessing the destruction of her village.

Free Tibet director Eleanor Byrne-Rosengren said:

“Bulldozers are a suitable symbol of China’s rule in Tibet. Tibetans’ land is no longer their own and land grabs and destruction of Tibetan property by the authorities are common occurrences.

They are also a frequent trigger for protests. Local objections rarely deter the authorities from their actions, however, and protests are frequently met with arrests and violence.

There are many causes of self-immolation protests but punishing Tibetans for expressing their legitimate grievances is certainly among them.”

Tashi Kyi’s is the seventh self-immolation of 2015 (2). It takes place on the eve of large scale official celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Tibet Autonomous Region on 1 September. (Tashi Kyi’s protest occurred outside the TAR.)

Information supplied by Tibet Watch.

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Notes to editors

[1] Location: Ngulra village in Sangkog (Ch: Sangke) township Sangchu (Ch: Xiahe) County, Kanlho Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture (Ch: Sangke township, Xiahe County, Gannan TAP) Gansu province.
[2] 141 self-immolations have been confirmed in Tibet, with two other fire deaths thought to have been self-immolation protests. The first self-immolation in Tibet took place in 2009 and there were no further self-immolations until March 2011. 2012 saw the peak number of self-immolations, with 83 confirmed. Full list of self-immolation protesters