Monk dead in third Tibet self-immolation protest in 8 days

Kalsang Yeshe in an undated photo.
Kalsang Yeshe in an undated photo.

(, Dec 25, 2014) – There has been a third protest self-immolation in a Chinese ruled Tibetan area in recent days, with a respected 37 or 38-year-old monk named Kalsang Yeshe setting himself on fire in Tawu (Chinese: Daofu) County of Kardze (Ganzi) Prefecture, Sichuan Province, on Dec 23, reported several exile Tibetan media sources. The monk was said to have set himself ablaze at around 11:20 AM in front of the offices of the Chinese Public Security Bureau and work team set up recently at his Tawu Nyitso Monastery.

“He self-immolated in protest against Chinese policies in Tibet and called for the return of [exiled spiritual leader] the Dalai Lama to Tibet,” Radio Free Asia (Washington) Dec 23 quoted an exile source with local contacts as saying.

The monk was reported to have collapsed while engulfed in flames and probably died. Chinese police fired warning shots to prevent Tibetans who happened to be nearby when they tried to collect his body.

The resident of Thewa village in Tawu’s Kunor Township was said to have studied at Ganden Jangtse Monastery in South India for some two years in the late 1990s before returning home to begin a campaign against illiteracy among the elderly and to teach Buddhism and Tibetan language.

The Nyitso Monastery has a Chinese government-sanctioned strength of 400 monks, about a quarter of its strength before the Chinese occupation.

Kalsang Yeshe’s is the 11th self-immolation in Chinese ruled Tibetan areas this year and the 136th since Feb 2009. Before him, Tseypey Kyi, a 19 or 20-year-old woman died on Dec 22 after she torched herself around 2:30 PM in the middle of Meruma township market in Ngaba (Chinese: Aba) County, Sichuan Province.

Her fiery suicide protest was preceded by that of Sangay Khar, a 34-year-old father of two daughters, who torched himself and died on Dec 16 before a police station in Amchok (Amuqu) Town of Sangchu (Xiahe) County in Kanlho (Gannan) Prefecture, Gansu Province.

And three months earlier, Konchog, a 42-year-old father of two, burned himself in front of a police station in Gade (Gande) County of Golog (Guoluo) Prefecture, Qinghai Province, on Sep 16. The next day, a 22-year-old student named Lhamo Tashi carried out a similar ghastly protest action in front of the headquarters of Kanlho Prefecture in Tsoe (Hezuo) City, Gansu Province.


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