17-Year-old Tibetan Self-immolates in Bora

Bora Monastery
A 17-year-old Tibetan man burned himself around 3:30 PM today (December 2, 2012) in Bora (Ch: Xiahe county), Kanlho (Ch:Gannan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Gansu province.

In an apparent protest against China’s repressive policies in Tibet, Songdhi Kyab set himself on fire near Bora Monastery. He was reported to be alive when police forcibly took him away to a public hospital in Tsoe township, one of the biggest towns in the area. Eyewitnesses in the area say that Songdhi's survival may be “very slim” as he was seen smashing his head while engulfed in flames.

Many monks from Bora Monastery and a crowd of people are reported to have gathered at the scene of the protest in an attempt to march to the hospital, but have been stopped by security people, according to sources with contacts in the area.

Songdhi has a young wife and a two-year-old son. His father's name is Tsepa and mother is Wandey Tso. He is the third person to self-immolate from Bora after Lhamo Kyab and Dorjee Tseten.

This latest incident brings the number of Tibetan self-immolations in Tibet since February 2009 to 91. In November, 28 Tibetans have self-immolated, demanding freedom for Tibet and return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet.

Last Friday US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland expressed concerns about the alarming number of Tibetan self-immolations in Tibet. “We remain very concerned about rising tensions that result from counterproductive policies, including those that limit freedom of religion, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and association in Tibet,” Nuland said.

"We are going to continue to raise this publicly and privately and urge the Chinese government, at all levels, to address policies in Tibetan areas that have created tensions and that threaten the distinct religious, cultural and linguistic identity of the Tibetan people," Nuland said.

The Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama last month in an interview with Indian national television channel Doordarshan said he is saddened by the increasing number of self-immolation news from Tibet.

He said, “What’s happening is very sad; it brings tears to my eyes…People are not doing this because they are drunk or have family problems, but because they live in constant fear."

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