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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Tibetan mother-of-three dies after setting herself on fire in lateset protest over Chinese rule

June 1, 2012

  • Woman died outside a monastery in Barma Township
  • More than 30 Tibetans have self-immolated in last year

A Tibetan mother has died after setting fire to herself outside a monastery in the latest protest against China's occupation of the country.

Rechok, a nomad in her 30s who has three children, died outside the Jonang Dzamthang monastery in Barma Township this afternoon.

Her body is currently in the monastery and Tibetans have been gathering for her cremation, which is expected to be held this evening.

Rechok spent the last few days in the mountains tending to the family’s animals before travelling into the town ready to give her life.

She has two daughters aged nine and 15, and a 17-year-old son.

There have now been four self-immolations in Barma in 2012 and Rechok is one of more than 30 Tibetans who have engulfed themselves in flames over the last year.

In January, state security forces shot dead a young man who had been trying to prevent a friend being arrested for posting leaflets in the town claiming that self-immolations will continue until Tibet is free.

Reports say the death may have been the catalyst for the fatal protests in Barma.

Symbolic: The two men set fire to themselves on Sunday outside the Jokhang Temple (pictured) in Lhasa, one of Tibet's holiest building.

Stephanie Brigden, director of campaign group Free Tibet, said: 'Barma Township is like many other places in Tibet - people from all walks of life are rejecting Chinese rule and going to extraordinary lengths to make their calls for freedom heard.

'Tibetan calls for freedom continue to spread. The international community must break their silence on Tibet.'

Father of Tiananmen Square victim hangs himself in protest at Chinese government's failure to address his son's death

Rechok's death comes three days after one man was killed and another badly injured when they set themselves alight outside a temple in the Tibetan capital Lhasa on Sunday.

It was the first time the tiny country's tightly guarded capital had been targeted.

Vigorous campaign: There have been at least 34 self-immolations in the last year to highlight China's restrictions on Buddhism and to call for the return from exile of the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama (pictured)

Vigorous campaign: There have been at least 34 self-immolations in the last year to highlight China's restrictions on Buddhism and to call for the return from exile of the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama (pictured)

Chinese authorities identified the dead man as 19-year-old Tobgye Tseten  and the other man as Dargye, while American sources claim the two men were both waiters at a nearby restaurant.

There have been at least 34 such protests since March of last year to draw attention to China's restrictions on Buddhism and to call for the return from exile of the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama

Most have taken place in heavily Tibetan areas of China, but only one had occurred in Tibet itself and none in the capital.

Protests have become rare in remote Tibet and Lhasa in particular because of tight police security that has blanketed the area since anti-government riots erupted in Lhasa in 2008.

Radio Free Asia reported on Monday that Lhasa was under heavy police and paramilitary guard following the immolations and that the situation was very tense.

China's official news agency Xinhua blamed the protests on separatists and said the incidents were handled quickly and order restored.

Two months ago, a Tibetan protester set himself on fire in India during a demo against a visit by the Chinese president.

Jamphel Yeshi sustained burns to 98 per cent of his body when he sprinted for 50m outside the Indian Parliament building engulfed in flames.

He later died.

 

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