Former Tibetan Monk Stages Fatal Self-Immolation Protest in Ngaba

A Tibetan man named Youten sets himself on fire in a village in Meruma township, Ngaba (in Chinese, Aba) county, a Tibetan region in the western Chinese province of Sichuan, November 26, 2019.(Photo: RFA)

A young Tibetan man set himself on fire in Ngaba (in Chinese, Aba) county, a Tibetan region in the western Chinese province of Sichuan, this week in a protest against Chinese rule in Tibet, exile sources familiar with the case said on Thursday.

“Twenty-four-year-old Yonten self-immolated on November 26, around 4 p.m. local time, in a village in Meruma township, Ngaba. He died on the spot,” said Kanyag Tsering, a Dharamsala, India-based Tibetan.

“After the self-immolation occurred, it was not known if the family could take possession of his remains. Due to clampdown on communication channels, details in the aftermath of the self-immolation are hard to ascertain,” he said.

Ngaba’s main town and nearby Kirti monastery have been the scene of repeated self-immolations and other protests in recent years by monks, former monks, and other Tibetans calling for Tibetan freedom and the Dalai Lama’s return to Tibet.

“In Ngaba Meruma township, nearby monasteries and the markets in public places remained closely monitored and under surveillance, and this has affected people’s normal life,” said Tsering.

Tsering identified Youten as the son of father Sodhon and mother Tsekho Kyi, who are residents of Meruma.

“Yonten was a monk in his childhood at Ngaba’s Kirti monastery, and later disrobed and spent his time in nomadic areas,” he said.

Yonten’s protest follows the December 2018 self-immolation of DrukKho, also in Ngaba, and brings to 156 the number of self-immolations by Tibetans since the wave of fiery protests against Chinese rule of their homeland began in 2009.

Reported by RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Dorjee Damdul. Written in English by Paul Eckert.

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