Asia

Tibetan Man Dies After Setting Himself on Fire in Protest for Freedom From China

A Tibetan man died earlier this week after setting himself on fire in an apparent protest against the Chinese government’s rule in the autonomous region.

The man, identified as Konpe, set himself ablaze around 6 p.m. on December 23 and died around 5 p.m. the following day. He was a former monk at Kirti monastery.

Konpe, believed to be in his 30s, performed the act of self-immolation on the main road of Ngaba, a popular site for similar protests.

Lobsang Yeshe, spokesman for the India branch of Kirti monastery, told Radio Free Asia that Konpe died in a nearby hospital.

“While Konpe was burning, police and other people arrived and extinguished the fire and took him to Barkham hospital, reaching there around 10:00 PM. However, he died at about 5:00 PM on December 24,” Yeshe said.

“Chinese authorities sent a message to Konpe’s family and relatives, telling them he had died and saying they should come to the hospital to collect his remains.”

After the grim incident, Konpe’s father, Gyakyap, was detained by Barkham authorities due to the “tens of thousands of yuan” spent on his son’s treatment. Commercial establishments in Ngaba were also closed for two days on December 24 and 25.

Konpe joined the Rawa family in Meuruma Settlement No. 2 after tying the knot with their daughter Kelsang Lhamo about a year ago, according to Kirti monastery monk Kanyag Tsering.

He is survived by two brothers, one of whom is a Kirti monk, and three sisters.

Konpe’s death brings the total of self-immolations of Tibetans in China at 152. Of this number, 129 died, while the rest sustained critical injuries or have unknown status to date, the Central Tibetan Administration reported.

Tibet has long fought for freedom from the Chinese government. The most infamous demonstration occurred in March 10, 1959, when thousands died in a clash against authorities.

Watch the horrific video below:


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