Two young Tibetans offer their lives for freedom

Friday, 30 March 2012

Two young Tibetan monks, Tenpa Dargye, aged 22, Choemi Palten, aged 21 (1), set fire to themselves in Barkham Town, the capital of Barkham County, Ngaba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Eastern Tibet (2) at approximately 12:30 (local time) today, 30 March 2012. Free Tibet cannot confirm the wellbeing and whereabouts of the two monks at this time.

Choemi has been politically active in the past; he was detained in Lhasa in 2010 for carrying a picture of the Dalai Lama, a Tibetan flag and having a Tibetan song, “Sound of Unity”, on his mobile, all of which are illegal under Chinese rule. Both monks have studied at Kirti Monastery in Ngaba (Chinese: Aba) where many of monks who have self-immolated over the past year came from (3).

 Free Tibet Director Stephanie Brigden commented:

“Tibetans could not show us more clearly how intolerable life is under Chinese rule. We must break the international community’s shameful silence and speak up for the rights of Tibetans – our desire for Chinese trade and investment must not deafen us to the calls for freedom from Tibet.”

Tenpa and Choemi travelled 80kms from their monastery in Tsodun Township to the county capital to make their protest. Following the twin self-immolations, monks from the monastery attempted to travel to Barkham Town, but they were forced to return to the monastery by Chinese state security forces. There are reports of an increased number of Chinese state security forces deployed in the area following the self-immolations.

Ends

Notes to Editors

1) Portrait photographs of Tenpa Dargye and Choemi Palten can be downloaded here: http://www.freetibet.org/node/2620

2) Chinese: Caodeng Township, Maerkang County, Aba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan

3) http://www.freetibet.org/newsmedia/selfimmolations

For further information about self-immolations and protests across Tibet: 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 further information and interviews please contact Free Tibet’s Director Stephanie Brigden:

E: stephanie@freetibet.org
M: +44 7971 479 515
T: +44 207 324 4605
S: Stephaniefreetibet.org