(TibetanReview.net, Apr03’22) – As President Xi Jinping’s Sinicization of Tibetan religion and culture gathers its alarmingly assimilative pace, protest self-immolations by Tibetans appear to have made a comeback with three new cases being reported since Feb 25 from Tibet’s capital Lhasa, Qinghai Province, and a Tibetan area of what is now part of China’s Sichuan Province.
In the latest reported of these cases, an 81-year-old man named Taphun has torched himself in Kirti area of Ngaba (Chinese: Aba) County, Sichuan Province, on Mar 27.
Taphun self-immolated in front of a police station located near Kirti Monastery in protest against the Chinese government’s oppression. It was reported that the police took Taphun away after his self-immolation attempt, said the exile Tibetan administration (CTA) on its Tibet.net website Apr 2.
The report added that Taphun had died in police custody.
The resident of Meruma nomadic village in Ngaba County was said to have been always outspoken against China’s oppressive policies and its inhuman treatment of the Tibetan people.
Before Taphun, 25-year-old Tibetan pop singer Tsewang Norbu who had recorded hit-songs, carried out a self-immolation protest in front of the Potala Palace in Tibet’s capital Lhasa on Feb 25. He was reported have died as a result of it, although a Chinese foreign ministry remark on Mar 28 appeared to suggest that he was still undergoing treatment in hospital.
Tsewang Norbu had competed on a popular reality show, “Sing! China”, only months earlier, as noted by the economist.com Apr 2. The judges had called him luobo (radish), a Mandarin homophone for Norbu.
Also, the Tibetan Service of rfa.org reported Mar 31 that a Tibetan man named Tsering Samdup, or simply Tsering, had torched himself in the afternoon of Mar 30 in front of a Chinese police station near a Buddhist monastery in Kyegudo (Jiegu) County of Yushul (Yushu) Prefecture, Qinghai Province.
These latest cases bring to nearly 160 since Feb 2009 the number of Tibetans from across the Tibetan Plateau region who were known to have carried out protest self-immolations against Chinese rule. Protest self-immolations appeared as a new, deadly form of protest in the aftermath of China’s brutal army crackdown on largely peaceful Tibetan protests across the Tibetan Plateau the year before and the pursuant increase in repression.