Young Tibetan sets himself on fire near Lhasa, many detained
Tsewang Dorjee, 22, a Tibetan nomad, set himself on fire in a marketplace in Damshung (1) county town near Lhasa, central Tibet at approximately midday (local time) on 7 July 2012 to protest against Chinese repression. security personnel put out the flames and took Tsewang Dorjee to the county hospital. Nobody has been allowed to visit him and his current whereabouts and wellbeing are unknown although there have been reports that he died on the night of the 7th.
The incident was followed by a heavy security crackdown in the county. There are reports of numbers of people who witnessed the self-immolation being detained from the marketplace where Tsewang Dorjee set fire to himself. It is understood they remain in detention and have not been charged; Free Tibet has serious concerns for their wellbeing. Free Tibet has been documenting very large numbers of arbitrary detentions and disappearances in response to recent protests. According to one Lhasa source, thousands of Tibetans who come from areas where protests have taken place have been forcibly returned to their place of origin, including those detained in Lhasa following the 27 May self-immolation there (2).
Following 7 July self-immolation, people in Damshung were warned by the authorities not to talk about what happened and have been banned from making calls outside the area; communications systems were completely cut off by the afternoon of Sunday 8 July.
Free Tibet Director Stephanie Brigden commented on the wider context of this most recent self-immolation:
“China’s determination to maintain ‘internal’ stability is exposed by the extreme response to Tibetan acts of protest: arbitrary detentions, communications blackouts and banning foreigners, the media and international observers do nothing to address Tibetan grievances nor to convince the international community that all is well in Tibet. Tibetans are setting fire to themselves in protest at Chinese rule across an ever-widening area of Tibet.”
Notes to Editor
1. Chinese: Dangquaka, Tibet Autonomous Region
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:
M: +44 7971 479 515