Tibetan sources reported that on March 16th, Phuntsok Jarutsang, a 20-year old Tibetan monk from Kirti Monastery, self-immolated in an act of protest in Ngaba town (Ch: Aba), eastern Tibet (Ch: Sichuan Province). Eye-witnesses reported that Chinese authorities beat Phuntsok as they put out the flames. Phuntsok died at approximately 3:00am Lhasa time on March 17th.
“China’s violent rule in Tibet has escalated since 2008 to a point where Tibetans feel compelled to take desperate action. Phuntsok Jarutsang’s self-immolation is a window into the deep suffering and frustrations that Tibetans everywhere are feeling, and is an urgent cry for help that the global community cannot ignore,” said Tenzin Dorjee, Executive Director of Students for a Free Tibet. “After half a century of enduring immeasurable suffering, the Tibetan people continue to wage a nonviolent struggle, risking everything for freedom — often at a high cost. As we saw in Tunisia, drastic actions by an individual can galvanize an entire nation, and Phuntsok’s action will leave its own mark on Tibetan history.”
A protest by an estimated 1,000 monks and lay people was violently suppressed by the authorities. An unknown number of Tibetans have been arrested and the situation in Ngaba remains tense. Chinese troops were reported to have surrounded the monastery and have flooded the town. March 16th marked three years since troops opened fire on demonstrators peacefully protesting against Chinese rule in 2008, killing at least 10 people.
Read reports about this incident:
Tibetan monk burns to death in China protest - group (Reuters):
Monk immolates himself; major protests at Tibetan monastery violently suppressed (International Campaign for Tibet)
Monk sets himself alight on the anniversary of Tibetan protests (Free Tibet): http://www.freetibet.org/newsmedia/160311-monk-self-immolation
Read more about protests in Ngaba town.
In 2009, another monk, Tabe, from Kirti Monastery lit himself on fire to protest China’s crackdown in the area. Read SFT’s report:
At least 10, and likely dozens of Tibetans were shot dead by Chinese forces during peaceful protests in Ngaba town in March 2008:
If you are in the U.S. please consider taking the following actions in support of the Tibetans in Amdo Ngaba:
1) Alert the U.S. authorities in China of this incident
[Please note the following phone numbers are main switchboard numbers; ask to speak to someone in Public Affairs. We are working on an online petition and will circulate it around shortly, but please make an effort to make a call as it is sometimes more effective than, if not equal to, the online actions]
Call the U.S. Embassy in Beijing: (86-10) 8531-3000
Call the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu: (86-28) 8558 3992
When you call, introduce yourself and where you are from and express how urgent the situation is in Ngaba, in eastern Tibet (Ch: Aba, Sichuan Province). Please make sure to mention if you are Tibetan. Direct them to reports of this morning’s incident and urge them to investigate the incident and press the Chinese government to respect the rights of Tibetans to peaceful protest.
2) Call the Chinese Embassy and Consulates in the U.S.:
Call the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C.: (202) 338-6688 / (202)5889760
Call the Chinese Consulate in Chicago, IL: (312) 453 0210 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (312) 453 0210 end_of_the_skype_highlighting / (312) 803-0095
Call the Chinese Consulate in Houston, TX: (713) 520-1462
Call the Chinese Consulate in Los Angeles, CA: (213) 807-8088
Call the Chinese Consulate in New York, NY: (212) 244-9392
Call the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco, CA: (415) 674-2900
When you call, explain that you are Tibetan or a Tibet supporter and explain how you are aware of the situation in Ngaba town (Ch: Aba, Sichuan Province). Tell them that people worldwide are watching the situation in Ngaba, Tibet closely and demand the release of all those detained in today’s protest.
Your calls will help make sure the Chinese government knows people worldwide are watching the situation closely and will hopefully help to protect Tibetans on the ground.
4) Organize a solidarity protest:
We will post the details of protests shortly on our website here. Please send details of your protest to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll help to spread the word.