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RFA: Tibetan Nun Died in 11th Self-Immolation

On November 3, 211, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported that a Tibetan nun died after setting herself on fire in GanZi, Sichuan Province. It was the 11th Tibetan self-immolation this year. According to Voice of Tibet, which is based in Norway, the victim was Palden Choetso, 35 years old. She died on a road in Dawu County of Sichuan Province, the same location as a monk who recently self-immolated. Before setting herself on fire, she yelled out “Free Tibet” and “Allow the Dalai Lama to return to Tibet.”

Kunga Tashi, the spokesperson for the Office of Tibet in New York told RFA that the policy of extreme pressure that China has imposed on Tibet is the direct cause of the recent tragedy. “This is an indication that China’s Tibetan policy is a failure. These young monks have tried appeals, rallies, and parades but none of those have worked. They have no other ways to express themselves and try to be heard than to sacrifice their lives to let international society know of the dark side that is casting its shadow over Tibet.” Kunga believes that international attention may help improve the existing human rights condition in Tibet.

Yang Jianli, a China scholar from Harvard, who has been monitoring the ethnic issues in China said, “The Tibetan policy that the Chinese authorities have used in the past has become an issue of national oppression. … No religions would force people to commit suicide on such a large scale. … Take the Kirti Gompa monastery as an example. Two thousand monks live inside, but 30,000 armed forces and police are outside the temple. There are brainwashing sessions held every day to condemn the Dalai Lama. Chinese authorities do not care about international pressure and continue the control Tibetans’ voices and destroy their religious culture.” Yang believes that the issue of Tibet is not an isolated one; it is representative of the human rights violations that are going on in China. “If China’s overall human rights situation does not improve, (it shows) that we can’t rely on the Chinese government to give up its long term totalitarian control.”

Lobsang Sangay, the prime minister of the Tibetan government in exile is discouraging Tibetans from self-immolating, fearing that retaliation and more arrests of Tibetans will follow the incident. He is calling on the Chinese government to allow the international media to conduct an investigation of the self-immolation case and is encouraging international society to apply more pressure on the Chinese government.

Source: Radio Free Asia, November, 3, 2011