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Tibetan self-immolations continue despite ban enforced by China: TCHRD
Five Tibetans have died because of self-immolation since local Chinese authorities in Malho (Ch: Huangnan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province, began implementing a new campaign, inaugurated through a publicly issued notification to ban and punish self-immolations.

ACCORDING TO Dharmshala based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), Wangyal, in his 20s, was one of the protesters who died after setting himself on fire at Serta (Ch: Seda) County in Kardze (Ch: Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province.

On 26 November, Wangyal died of self-immolation and government officials took away his body, sources told TCHRD. The same day, another Tibetan, Konchok Tsering, died after his burning protest in front of a mining site at Amchok Township in Sangchu (Ch: Xiahe), County of Kanlho (Ch: Gannan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu Province. He left behind a family of four: his father Tsepak Kyap, 40, mother Gonpo Tso, 37, and two brothers.

Sources told the rights group that local Tibetans gathered in large numbers to hold prayers for the deceased at Amchok Monastery. The 14 November public notification has mobilized all levels of local governments in Malho Prefecture particularly in Rebkong (Ch: Tongren) County to enforce the ban on self-immolations and punish the families of self-immolators and the villages they live in.

TCHRD said that government officials and cadres of Dowa Township, Thunding County and Malho Prefecture have obtained signed statements from village officials and leaders to prevent any self-immolation under their jurisdiction. “From now onwards, each household will be made to sign a statement not to do any self-immolation. Those who refuse to sign such statements will attract immediate detention,” TCHRD alleged.

In Dokarmo Township in Rebkong County, two Tibetans, a nun and a nomad, died of self-immolation within three days. On 25 November, at around 7 pm (local time), nun Sangay Dolma of Gonshul Nunnery from Bharkor Village in Dokarmo Township died after setting herself on fire at Tsekhog County, the seat of the County government office. She died at the spot.

On 23 November, Tamdin Dorjee, 29, set himself on fire at around 6.30 pm (local time) in front of the Township government office in Dokarmo Township. Sources told TCHRD that Tamdin Dorjee held his hands in praying gesture and shouted for the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He was from Mekor Village in Dokarmo Township.

Hundreds of Tibetans, including monks gathered to hold prayers for His Holiness the Dalai Lama. On 22 November, Lubum Tsering, 19, set himself on fire at around 4.20 pm (local time) and died at Dowa Township in Rebkong County. In defiance of the notification, monks from Dowa Monastery, along with lay Tibetans, carried the body to the monastery where prayers and cremation rituals were held. Lubum left behind his father, Tsego aka. Mag Tsego, who is 60.

Days before Lubum’s protest on 22 November, Public Security Bureau and People's Armed Police officers, carrying rifles and other weapons, came to Dowa town to enforce the notification, putting restrictions on local Tibetans. About 30 military trucks came into Dowa town, but 11 of them later left.

On the day of Lubum’s protest, seven military trucks with armed police returned to Dowa and stopped the local Tibetans at Bonkhog bridge. The Tibetans were on their way to offer prayers and condolences to the family members and relatives of Lubum Tsering, TCHRD alleged.

Some Tibetans, evading armed police, took the longer route over the mountains and managed to visit Lubum’s family. On 15 November, two monks from Dowa Monastery, went missing after their detention, along with some other unidentified Tibetans at a place called Bhonpo Nyagkha in Dowa Township. The monks, Tsundue Choedhen, 17, and Konchok Sonam, 21, were on their way to Malho from Dowa when they were detained. Both monks belong to Khagya Village.

Restrictions on Internet and phone lines are reported from Rebkong, Serta, and Sangchu. In Rebkong, where Internet connection has been snapped, concerned police and state security officials are questioning those who had contacted through phone and Internet.

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