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Another Tibetan teenager self-immolates in Ngaba while hundreds protest in Jyekundo

February 16, 2012

Press release: 13 February 2012
Self-immolation in Ngaba
A young monk, Lobsang Gyatso, set fire to himself (1) in Ngaba Town, Ngaba County, Ngaba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Eastern Tibet (2) today at approximately 2pm local time.  Lobsang is 19 and is a monk at Kirti Monastery; he is the second teenager to set themselves on fire in Ngaba in the last three days (3). Chinese state security personnel extinguished the flames and forcibly removed him from the scene. Lobsang’s whereabouts and wellbeing are unknown.
Locals report that extra security personnel have been deployed to checkpoints around Ngaba Town and that people are being searched.
Protests in Jyekundo

Approximately 200 people protested in the main square (the market place) of Jyekundo Town, Jyekundo Autonomous Prefecture (4), on Saturday 11 February. Chinese security forces reportedly closed off the square and the military surrounded it. There are unconfirmed reports that some of the protestors were taken away by Chinese security forces. 

The following day (Sunday 12 February), more people protested in Jyekundo Town, this time in Gesar Square (5). Locals described the situation in the town as very tense. 

Locals report an increase in Chinese military in the area and that people cannot move around freely, cannot leave the town and some are not allowed out in the streets.

There are reports that people returning to Lhasa from India, especially since the Kalachakra (6), are being detained in informal places of detention such as hotels. They are being denied any contact with the outside world and have been told that they will be held until April. 
Free Tibet Director Stephanie Brigden commented on the escalating tensions in Tibet:
“Lobsang Gyatso is the second teenager in three days to set themselves on fire in Ngaba. These young people’s extraordinarily courageous actions represent the determination of a whole nation to end the occupation of their country regardless of the individual cost. Hundreds of kilometres away, Tibetans are taking to the streets to protest against the occupying Chinese despite the threatening presence of Chinese state security personnel all around.
“Last week Chen Quanguo, Regional Communist Party Chief of Tibet, made China’s intentions clear: it will use whatever force necessary to end protests in Tibet, including waging war on an unarmed people.”


Notes to editors
1)    Lobsang Gyatso is the 23rd Tibetan to set fire to themselves in protest at Chinese policies since March 2011.
2)    Chinese: Aba Town, Aba County, Aba Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan
4)    Chinese: Yushu Town, Yushu Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai. 
There have recently been other protests and a self-immolation in this prefecture:
5)    Chinese: Gesa Er
6)    The Kalachakra is a Buddhist initiation that was performed by the Dalai Lama in India from December 31, 2011 to January 10, 2012. Many Tibetans travelled to India to attend.
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:
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665
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