Tibetan man self-immolates in China

April 17, 2015 8:14 am


Tibetans take to the streets to protest religious repression/AFP
Tibetans take to the streets to protest religious repression/AFP
China, Apr 17 – A Tibetan man has burned himself to death in China, a rights group and media said, the second such protest reported against Beijing’s policies in the region in two weeks.

Nei Kyab, believed to be in his 40s, set himself ablaze on Wednesday in a Tibetan-populated area of Sichuan province in southwestern China, US-funded broadcaster Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported.

He is the latest of more than 130 Tibetans to set themselves on fire in China since 2009, in protests which are usually fatal, according to tallies by rights groups.

Many Tibetans accuse the government of religious repression and eroding their culture, claims denied by Beijing, which says it has brought development to the region.

RFA cited a local source as saying that Kyab was “protesting against Chinese policies in Tibet” adding: “His body was taken away by police,” preventing traditional Tibetan burial practices.

Kyab, whose wife died last year, is survived by seven children, RFA said late Thursday.

It added that before the protest in Sichuan’s Aba county, known as Ngaba in Tibetan, Kyab set out offerings on an altar with images of Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

The Nobel laureate has lived in exile since he fled in 1959 following a failed uprising against Chinese rule.

The Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet cited “harrowing” images of the burning on social media.

Self-immolations peaked in the run-up to the ruling Communist Party’s pivotal five-yearly congress in November 2012, before becoming less common.

But a Tibetan nun was reported to have died last week after setting herself on fire and calling for the return of the Dalai Lama.

Beijing threw cold water Wednesday on the possibility of re-launching talks with the Dalai Lama, saying greater political autonomy for Tibet was “not up for discussion”.

Police in Aba did not answer the phone when called by AFP on Friday.


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