December 23, 2014

Tibetan Woman Dies After Setting Herself on Fire in China

Students for a Free Tibet outside the Chinese Embassy in Washington D.C

Students for a Free Tibet outside the Chinese Embassy in Washington D.C

A Tibetan woman died on Monday after setting herself on fire, the latest in a string of self-immolations protesting Chinese rule.

The woman, Tsepe Kyi, described as a 20-year-old nomad from Aba County in the Chinese province of Sichuan, died there, Free Tibet and Radio Free Asia reported. The authorities were said to have later detained her parents and a brother for questioning.

In Tibetan areas of China, family members with advance knowledge of a self-immolation can face jail time.

The latest self-immolation, the second this month, brought to 135 the number of Tibetans who have set themselves ablaze since 2009 in a campaign protesting what many Tibetans describe as intrusive government policies.

Those include restrictions on Buddhist religious practices, educational policies that promote the Mandarin language over Tibetan, and official efforts to ostracize the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader.

China’s state news media rarely report on self-immolations, which rights advocates say have prompted increasingly heavy-handed security in the region.

Last week, a 33-year-old man in Gansu Province died after setting himself on fire outside a police station in Xiahe, a historic town that is home to a monastery popular with Chinese tourists.