China: New level of desperation as Tibetans set themselves on fire

In reaction to news that a 20-year old Tibetan nun, Tenzin Wangmo, set herself on fire and died on Monday, near Kirti monastery in Ngaba County, Sichuan province, Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Director, said:

“This is the ninth self-immolation in recent months by ethnic Tibetans and indicates a new level of desperation on the part of Tibetans against the Chinese government’s repression of their culture and religious freedom.

“The Chinese authorities should heed the demands of Tibetans to freely practice their religion and enjoy their culture. Instead they have resorted to heavy-handed response that can only deepen and further fuel resentments.”

The Chinese government has responded to protests with mass arrests, including 300 Kirti monastery monks, enforced disappearances, imprisonment, “patriotic re-education” of monks, and possible killings by the security forces.

Sam Zarifi added:

“The heavy security presence in these regions contributes to an already tense climate. Those imprisoned for their peaceful protest must be released immediately.”

Kirti monastery is in Aba (Ngaba) County in an ethnic Tibetan area of Sichuan province, which has seen repeated protests against denial of religious and cultural rights. Seven monks and former monks from Kirti monastery have set themselves on fire in recent months. An eighth monk from Nyitse monastery set himself on fire in Ganzi (Kardze) County also in Sichuan province.

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