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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 woman burns herself to death in protest over Chinese policies

March 9, 2015

Radio Free Asia, March 7, 2015 - A 40-year old woman from Ngaba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture burned herself to death on Friday in a protest against Chinese policies in her homeland, becoming the 137th known case of self-immolation by Tibetans since the fiery protests began in 2009, sources in Ngaba told RFA's Tibetan service.

The Tibetan woman, Norchuk, set herself ablaze at 3:30 am on Friday in a hay barn in her village of Trotusk in Ngaba (in Chinese, Aba) county of Sichuan province. She was a constituent of Dephu monastery who had recently taken a vow to become a lifelong vegetarian, the sources said.

Norchuk's body was cremated by the local government, they added.

Norchuk's death came amid a heightened security presence in many Tibetan areas that locals say is aimed both at intimidating Tibetans now celebrating religious observances during the Lunar New Year and at preventing protests on the coming March 10 anniversary of a failed 1959 Tibetan revolt against Chinese rule.

Before the Feb. 18 Losar (Nw Year) holiday, large numbers of Chinese security forces were deployed to Tibetan-populated areas of Sichuan and Qinghai provinces in a bid to deter anti-China protests. The measures included checkpoints examining vehicles on major roads and police equipped with fire extinguishers and have fire trucks standing by to respond to self-immolations.

Tibet’s spiritual leader the Dalai Lama fled Tibet into exile in India in the midst of the uprising, and Beijing has repeatedly accused exiled Tibetans, including the Dalai Lama, of stoking dissent against its rule ever since.

Sporadic demonstrations challenging Chinese rule have continued in Tibetan-populated areas of China since widespread protests swept the region in 2008. The self-immolations were committed to show opposition to Beijing’s rule and call for the return of the Dalai Lama.

Reported by RFA's Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Paul Eckert.

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