A Tibetan man in his late ’20s set himself on fire and died while demanding more freedom for the community in the Tibetan Autonomous Region on Saturday, a rights group has said. With the death of Lhamo Kyeb, 27, the number of ethnic Tibetans who have self-immolated in the last few years has crossed 55.
The protest, according to London-based Free Tibet, took place in Bhora village Sangchu County, Kanlho Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.
“According to an eyewitness, Lhamo Kyeb set himself on fire and ran towards Bhora monastery. State security forces, who were standing by the roadside, immediately ran after him and tried to extinguish the flame,” the group said in an emailed statement.
It was the same monastery where large-scale protests had taken earlier this year. More than 100 monks marched to local government buildings holding Tibetan flags and pictures of the Dalai Lama.
The eyewitness said that Lhamo Kyeb shouted slogans calling for the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet.
Villagers and monks carried the body to Bhora Monastery where they offered prayers for him. Tibetans from nearby villages came to the monastery and carried Lhamo Kyeb’s body back to his home village of Dokabma.
“Protests against China’s brutal suppression of Tibetan culture and identity have now reached a point where the international community must speak out. This Tibet Spring is not going to go away just because international governments choose to ignore it,” Free Tibet director Stephanie Brigden said.
Lhamo Kyeb leaves a wife and two daughters aged 10 and 7.
The Chinese government maintains that the self-immolations in the Tibetan Autonomous Region and elsewhere are instigated by the spiritual leader of the Tibetans, Dalai Lama, based out of Dharamshala in India.
The government has responded to the wave of suicides by tightening security around all the four regions in China where ethnic Tibetans live. The government says separatist elements want to compromise China’s territorial integrity. The TAR, it says is on the path of unprecedented development.