(TibetanReview.net, Mar09, 2018) – A Tibetan man in his early 40s has died after setting himself on fire in protest against Chinese rule in Ngaba (Chinese: Aba) County of Sichuan Province on Mar 7. Tsekho Tukchak, a married man with two daughters, torched himself in the county’s Meuruma nomadic township at about 5 PM local time, said several online Tibetan news reports Mar 8, reporting the first incident of its kind in Tibet this year.
“Long live His Holiness the Dalai Lama and freedom for Tibet,” Kungyam, a former political prisoner from the area who now lives in Australia has quoted the deceased man as saying, citing his local contacts.
According to the Tibetan Service of rfa.org Mar 7, Tukchak, also known as Tsekho Topchag, had lately been expressing serious concern about China’s continued occupation rule in Tibet and its repression of the Tibetan people and their culture.
He was also stated to be outspoken and eloquent in expressing his views on these issues in teashops and marketplaces.
His self-immolation came as Chinese authorities had deployed increased numbers of security forces in Meuruma to prepare for crackdown on any possible large gatherings ahead of the 59th anniversary on Mar 10 of the Tibetan national uprising. Internet services were already stated to be blocked as a part of that security arrangement.
Tukchak’s protest action brings to 153 the number of self-immolations by Tibetans in Chinese ruled Tibet since Feb 2009.
Before Tukchak, an about 30-year-old former Kirti monk named Konpe had set himself on fire in Ngaba County on Dec 23 in protest against Chinese rule. The since married man was also a resident of Meuruma Township and had died the next day.