BEIJING — A Tibetan nun killed herself Monday by setting herself on fire in a Tibetan town in western China while calling for religious freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, according to a statement by an advocacy group based in London.
The nun, Tenzin Wangmo, 20, was the ninth Tibetan to commit self-immolation since March, the fifth of those to die, and the first Tibetan woman to kill herself in this way, said the group, Free Tibet. The self-immolations have all taken place in restive Tibetan areas of Sichuan Province. All the previous acts involved monks or former monks; the most recent one took place on Saturday, when a 19-year-old former monk from Kirti Monastery set himself on fire but lived.
Kirti is in the town of Aba, known as Ngaba in Tibetan, and is the focal point of a long-running repression by Chinese security forces. Kirti was involved in the widespread Tibetan uprising of 2008, and security around the monastery has tightened considerably since then. Seven of the eight monks who committed self-immolation this year came from Kirti.
Tenzin’s nunnery, called Dechen Chokorling, was just three kilometers outside Aba and near Kirti. Tenzin set herself on fire outside the nunnery around 1 p.m. on Monday, said the report by Free Tibet, which advocates for Tibetan autonomy and has functioned as an outlet for people inside the Tibetan areas to report news.
“The acts of self-immolation are not taking place in isolation, protests have been reported in the surrounding region and calls for wider protests are growing,” said Stephanie Brigden, director of Free Tibet.
The group also reported that two Tibetans were shot and wounded by security forces during a protest on Sunday outside a police station in the town of Kege, known in Tibetan as Khekor. The town is located in the prefecture of Ganzi, or Kandze in Tibetan. A 29-year-old monk in Ganzi killed himself in August by setting himself on fire.
Free Tibet identified the two Tibetans wounded on Sunday as Dawa and Druklo. One was shot in the leg and the other in the torso, though it is unclear who suffered what injury. It is also unclear why security forces opened fire. The condition of the two Tibetans was unknown early Tuesday morning.
- Succession tensions rise in Tibet (Asia Times) (thuytinhvo.wordpress.com)
- Monk in immolation imitation (News) (thuytinhvo.wordpress.com)
- Two Tibetan Monks Set Themselves on Fire in Protest (New York Times) (thuytinhvo.wordpress.com)