Two, not three, Tibet self-immolations and a lone street protester savaged by Chinese police

Sangay Gyatso in an undated picture. (Photo courtesy: TCHRD)
Sangay Gyatso in an undated picture. (Photo courtesy: TCHRD)

(, Dec15, 2018) – There appears to have been a bit of a mix up in the reports that spoke about three Tibetan protest self-immolations in Ngaba County of Sichuan Province over Dec 8 and 9 due to scarcity of information resulting from China’s tight control on flow of information and restrictions on people’s communication channels. Further reports suggest that there were, in fact, two self-immolations, one each on Dec 8 and 9 and a lone street protest on Dec 10.

It was, in fact, already suggested in a previous report that the religious name of the around 22-year-old Drugkho, who self-immolated on Dec 8, was Choekyi Gyatso when he was a monk of the local Kirti Monastery. Later reports named Choekyi Gyatso as one of two 16-year-olds who self-immolated on Dec 9, the other being Gedun Gyatso.

Drugkho was reported to have survived the self-immolation protest action, which he reportedly carried out before Ngaba County Public Security Bureau. This would suggest that Gedun Gyatso, who staged his protest self-immolation on what the local Tibetans call Ngaba Hero or Martyr’s Street on Dec 9, did not survive.

What reportedly happened was that on Dec 10, there was a lone street protest carried out in Ngaba town by a 17-year-old Kirti monk named Sangay Gyatso. He shouted slogans calling for “Freedom for Tibet”. The monk was reported to have been beaten up with great mercilessness by Chinese police before being taken away.

Sangay Gyatso apparently had to be taken to hospital due to the severity of the beating he recieved, which likely gave rise to the reports about two protest-self-immolators having been taken to separate hospital in two different counties.

This would bring the total number of known protest self-immolations in Chinese ruled Tibet since Feb 2009 to up to 156, including 43 in Ngaba alone.

However, while the two self-immolations have been widely reported, the Central Tibetan Administration at Dharamsala, India, said Dec 15 that they could not be confirmed as of now.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here