CTA Seriously Concerned by the Cycle of Self-Immolations Reaching Other Tibetan Regions

May 28, 2012 6:00 pm

Press Release

Dharamsala, 28 May 2012

Central Tibetan Administration Seriously Concerned by the Cycle of Self-Immolations Reaching Other Tibetan Regions

The Central Tibetan Administration, based in Dharamsala, India, expressed its concern over the latest development in Tibet involving the self-immolation of two Tibetans in Lhasa, on Sunday, 27 May. These are the first such incidents taking place in the capital of Tibet. The two self-immolators have been identified as Dhargye and Dorjee Tseten from the northeastern Tibet’s Ngaba and Labrang area respectively. It is reported that Dorjee Tseten died and Dhargye survived with injuries.

The Tibetan men are said to have set themselves on fire in front of the Jokhang Temple, located in Barkhor Square, one of the few remaining traditional Tibetan quarters in Lhasa. Arriving in several convoys, Chinese security forces are said to have swiftly cleared all traces of the incident.

The situation in Lhasa remains tense with the deployment of huge number of police and para-military forces in the area. With these two latest incidents, 37 Tibetans have set themselves on fire in Tibet. All, unanimously called for freedom in Tibet and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to his homeland.

“No matter how the Chinese government attempts to present the cycle of self-immolations to the international community, such explanation will be met with deep skepticism so long as access to Tibetan areas, particularly where self-immolations took place, is denied to impartial observers such as members of the press, and representatives of international bodies such as the United Nations,” said Kalon Dicki Chhoyang of the Department of Information & International Relations for the Central Tibetan Administration.

A few days ago, on 24 May, the US Government released its 2011 annual report on the human rights situation in Tibet. The report documents in detail the Chinese government’s policies which are pushing Tibetans to set themselves on fire. It states that “repressive measures such as forcing Tibetans to denounce the Dalai Lama through patriotic and legal education

campaigns, occupation of monasteries by security forces, provoked acts of resistance among the Tibetan population, who saw it as a threat to the foundations of Tibet’s distinct religious, linguistic, and cultural identity. These acts of resistance, in turn, led to enhanced attempts by PRC authorities to maintain control, thus creating cycles of repression that resulted in increasingly desperate acts by Tibetans, such as a series of self-immolations by Tibetans.”

“The report accurately depicts the circumstances leading to the current tense situation in Tibet. This information is further supported by video footage from smuggled out of Tibet. It shows Chinese police night raids into monastic living quarters, a monk being arrested for possession of photos of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and State security forces’ seal-off of Drepung Monastery in Lhasa. Although the footage dates back to 2008, it remains relevant to this day as it illustrates repressive policies that continue to be enforced across the Tibetan plateau and thus leading Tibetans to self-immolate,” states Kalon Dicki Chhoyang.

The video footage can be viewed at the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIfhd7Bouz0

Media contacts:

Mr Tashi, Secretary for Information

+91 9816843798

Mr Lobsang Choedak, Press Officer

+91 98822 32476