The wave of 34 self-immolations that has spread across Tibetan areas of China over the past year has reached Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, where two men set themselves on fire on Sunday, May 27, 2012.
At around 2 pm local time on Sunday, two young Tibetan men set themselves on fire in front of the Jokhang temple in Lhasa.
One of the men died and the other "survived with injuries".
The self-immolations are thought to be the first in Lhasa and the second inside Tibet.
But they follow a series of self-immolations, mostly involving monks and nuns, in Tibetan areas outside Tibet.
"They were a continuation of the self-immolations in other Tibetan areas and these acts were all aimed at separating Tibet from China".
The man who died was identified as Tobgye Tseten, from Gansu province in China. The other man, named Dargye, survived and was able to talk.
An earlier Radio Free Asia (RFA) report had referred to the men as monks and said that the incident took place outside the Jokhang Temple, a well-known destination for pilgrims and tourists.
The Xinhua report said the self-immolations took place on a busy street near the temple. Downtown Lhasa was crowded with people celebrating a Buddhist festival, it added.
The two men were believed to have been among a group of youths who had gathered to protest against Chinese rule, said the RFA report.
Police put out the flames ''within minutes'' of the self-immolations, Xinhua said.
''Within 15 minutes, the area was cleaned and not a trace of the incident was left at the site,'' an eyewitness told RFA.
There have now been more than 30 self-immolations over the past year, primarily among young Tibetan Buddhist monks and nuns. Most of them are believed to have died.
Most of the incidents have taken place in Tibetan areas of Sichuan province in southwest China.
Dargye was reportedly from Aba county in Sichuan province, said Xinhua. Many of those who have set themselves on fire have been in Aba county.
The Kirti monastery in the area has been virtually locked down since a young monk self-immolated and died in March 2011 - leading to mass protests.
Verifying these accounts is difficult, as foreign media are not allowed into the area.
The immediate and widespread security clampdown that followed included the cutting of telephone and internet connections, the inspection of all cameras and cell phones within a certain perimeter of where the immolations occurred, and numerous detentions yet to be fully confirmed. It is reported that the site of the immolations was immediately cleaned and that there were no traces of the event having taken place.
A Tibetan monk in South India with contacts in Lhasa told VOA that Dorjee Tseten was the youngest of three, and that his mother’s name is Dolkar Kyi and father’s name is Wa Dekhar. . The two self immolators were reportedly shouting slogans as they were engulfed in flames although it is not clear exactly what they were saying. In many of the past instances of self-immolations, the protesters had called for the return of the Dalai Lama and for freedom or greater freedoms for Tibet.
The self-immolations occurred during the 6th day of Saka Dawa, a month long commemoration of Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and passing. The Chinese authorities in Lhasa had once again banned both current and retired government officials as well as Party members and students from observing this holiest of Tibetan religious observances.
This is the second instance of self-immolation to have taken place in the 1965 created ‘Tibet Autonomous region’, and the 36th and 37th people to have undertaken this form of protest since 2009 against China’s policies in Tibet.
In: World News
Tags: tibet, llhasa, self-immolation, immolation, buddha, buddhist, monk, two, tibetans, Jokhang, holy, temple, set, self, themselves, on, fire, protest, protests, china, free, tibet
Location: Lhasa, Xizang (Tibet), China (load item map)
Marked as: approved
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