Moral Low Ground


Tibetan Woman Tsepe Kyi Dies in Self-Immolation Protest Against Chinese Rule

December 23, 2014 by Brett Wilkins in Asia/Pacific, Protests
Tsepe Kyi (Radio Free Asia)

Tsepe Kyi (Radio Free Asia)

A Tibetan woman has killed herself by self-immolation in a desperate act of protest against Chinese rule in the Himalayan region.

Tsepe Kyi, 20, set herself alight on Monday in Meruma, Ngaba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Radio Free Asia reports.

Kyi killed herself to “protest against China’s repressive policies,” a local source told RFA’s Tibetan Service. “Soon afterward, the police arrived and took her body away,” the source said.

Another anonymous source told RFA that police took Kyi’s parents, identified as Chidor and Chenpa Rinchen, and her brother into custody for questioning.

The protest was the second this month in which Tibetans have committed suicide by self-immolation. On December 16, RFA reported Sangye Khar, a 33-year-old father of two, set himself ablaze outside the police station in Amchok, Kaniho Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.

Ten Tibetans have self-immolated in protest of Chinese occupation and oppression in their homeland, which although nominally autonomous is ruled and dominated by Han Chinese. In consolidating control over Tibet, Beijing has jailed, tortured and sometimes killed Tibetan writers, artists, singers, educators, intellectuals and others who dare criticize its 64-year occupation.

Those who assert Tibetan national or cultural identity and language rights are also subject to arrest and torture. Earlier this month, Chinese authorities jailed popular folk singer Kalsang Yarphel for encouraging Tibetan unity and urging Tibetans to learn and speak their repressed language.

The Dalia Lama, the exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader, blamed Chinese “cultural genocide” for the wave of Tibetan self-immolations in recent years. At least 136 Tibetans have set themselves ablaze, resulting in no fewer than 108 deaths, in desperate acts of protest since early 2009.

Beijing claims Tibet has been part of China for more than 700 years and that its presence in Tibet has brought economic development to an impoverished area. Chinese officials have also falsely accused the Dalai Lama of encouraging self-immolations and have warned foreign leaders against meeting with the exiled Buddhist leader.

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