Young Tibetan monk in flames calls for freedom

Friday, 16 March 2012

A 20-year-old Tibetan monk, Lobsang Tsultrim, set fire to himself at 5pm (local time) in front of Kirti Monastery, Ngaba Town, Ngaba County, Ngaba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Eastern Tibet (1).

According to an eyewitness, as he set fire to himself Lobsang raised his fist in the air in the gesture often used by Tibetans to signify freedom. While he was still in flames, Chinese state security forces beat Lobsang; they then put out the flames with a fire extinguisher and took him away in a truck. In the truck, Lobsang again raised his fist in the air.

State security measures in Ngaba are described as being even more restrictive today, with extra forces at the monastery gate and throughout the town; there is a new checkpoint on the main road through the town and Tibetans are being stopped and searched. This evening, nobody is allowed to enter or leave the town.

Free Tibet Director Stephanie Brigden commented:

“Tibetan calls for freedom are growing stronger and ever greater numbers of Tibetans are standing in solidarity across Tibet. China’s attempts to repress these calls merely serve to strengthen determination and defiance: Tibetans are rising up, one by one and collectively, to claim their freedom.”

Ends

Notes to editors

1) Chinese: Aba Town, Aba County, Aba Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan

2) For further information about Tibetan protests and self-immolations please see 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