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Tibetan stabs self, jumps to death to protest harmful Chinese mining

(TibetanReview.net, May08, 2014) – A Tibetan man stabbed himself twice and jumped from a tall building in Dzogang (in Chinese, Zuogang) County of Chamdo Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region on May 7 in a desperate final act of protest against destructive Chinese mining in his home area of Tongbar Town, reported Radio Free Asia (Washington) May 07. Tibetans have been protesting against the mining project for sometime despite advices, threats and offers of incentives from the Chinese authorities. The suicide protester, named as 32-year-old Phakpa Gyaltsen, died instantly.

The father of three, with a fourth one on the way, was reported to have shouted “freedom for Tibetans” as he plunged to his death.

China was reported to have started surveying for a mining work at a place called Ache Jema, located near a lake called Madok Tso in Tongbar Township, two months earlier, claiming they wanted to build a dam there. But the local Tibetans were not deceived and started protesting. Groups of three Tibetans took daily turns to watch the site. Some such Tibetans were detained by the township police but released after few days.

At the same time, local authorities spoke to the residents about the benefits of the mining project and even offered a compensation of 10,000 yuan (US$1,603) to each family. But the Tibetans continued desisting, saying the project would impact them negatively.

As the standoff continued, Phakpa Gyaltsen could not take it anymore and told others that he would do something himself in an effort to end the trouble. He then went to the centre of the town, climbed to the terrace of a high-rise building, and shouted to demand freedom for Tibetans. When attempts were made to stop him he stabbed himself twice and jumped off the building.

China imposed a security clampdown in the area, including by blocking telephone and internet services in an attempt to prevent the news from going out.

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