China Seals Off Region After Tibetan Monk's Immolation

China Seals Off Region After Tibetan Monk's Immolation

Exile sources say Chinese authorities have demanded the dead body of 29-old monk Tsewang Norbu from Tawu Nyitso monastery, who died Monday as a result of self immolating himself in protest against China.

The 29-year-old Tsewang Norbu drank gasoline and poured it over himself after shouting slogans and distributing leaflets calling for the return of the Dalai Lama. He then set himself on fire and died instantly. The death, confirmed by China's official Xinhua news agency, occurred in an ethnic Tibetan area of Sichuan province known as Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.

Chinese armed police have surrounded the Tawu Nyitso monastery and situation is now tense in Tawu, Chime Tenzin, a monk from Gaden monastery in India with contacts in Tawu told VOA Tibetan.

The French news agency quoted a monk reached by phone inside the monastery Tuesday saying the compound was surrounded by at least 1,000 police. He said about 100 monks are inside the monastery without access to food or water.

Monks and Tibetans from Tawu monastery and nearby areas have continued to see and pray for the late monk at Nyitso monastery despite the heavy restriction around the area, said Chime.

Tibetan exile groups say telephone and Internet access has been cut off in an area of western China where a Tibetan monk burned himself to death Monday.

The death occurred just 150 kilometers from where another Tibetan monk named Phuntsog immolated himself in March. VOA's Tibetan Service obtained a video showing the badly burned monk Phuntsog, sitting in a car shortly after his act of protest. The video showed heavy security patrolling around the Kirti monastery and a large security presence in the area.

The London-based exile group Free Tibet says after that incident, Chinese authorities forcibly removed hundreds of monks and set up military roadblocks that still remain in place.