News Column

Tibetan Dies In Self-immolation Near Paramilitary Camp

June 15, 2012

Bill Smith, dpa

Free Tibet

A Tibetan man died on Friday after self-immolating outside a paramilitary police camp in north-western China's Qinghai province, Tibetan exiles and state media reported.

Police were investigating the incident on Friday morning in Qinghai's Jianzha county, or Chentsa in Tibetan, the government's Xinhua news agency said.

Tibetan exile groups quoted sources as saying the dead man was Tamding Thar or Tamdrin Thar, a herdsman in his 50s.

He set fire to himself in front of the People's Armed Police camp in the county, the India-based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy reported.

Paramilitary officers put out the flames and took away Tamding Thar, who died from severe burns, the centre said.

Hundreds of Tibetans gathered outside the camp demanding the return of his body, which was handed over around midday and taken to a remote area outside the county town.

Up to 500 Tibetans gathered in Jianzha on Friday afternoon, watched by scores of security officers, it said.

London-based Free Tibet, which identified the Tibetan man as Tamdrin Thar, said his body was returned to his family who took it to the local Lamo Dechen Monastery.

"Tamdrin's act was a clear and absolute rejection of Chinese rule," said Free Tibet Director Stephanie Brigden.

"He set fire to himself at a location that represents to Tibetans the brutality of China's occupation," Bridgen said.

The rights centre said he was from a family of nomadic herders who had moved to the county a few years ago under a controversial government programme of housing nomadic families in permanent settlements.

At least 38 other Tibetans have set fire to themselves in China since 2009, most of them in the last 18 months.

The ruling Communist Party has tightened security in most Tibetan areas this year after an escalation of the self-immolations and other protests, many of them by monks.

Catherine Ashton, the EU's foreign affairs chief, this week said the European Union was "concerned by the deterioration of the situation in Tibet."

She said the EU was also "most concerned about the impact of the resettlement policy of Tibetan nomads."

Chinese leaders accuse supporters of the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader, of encouraging the protests and pursuing independence for Tibet.

But the Dalai Lama has publicly opposed the self-immolations and said he seeks only greater freedom for Tibetans within China.

Source: Copyright 2012 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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