October 14, 2012
An ethnic Tibetan man has died after setting himself on fire in a protest against Chinese rule.
VOA’s Tibetan service is reporting that Tamdrin Dorjee killed himself near the Tsoe monastery in northwest China’s Gansu province.
He is believed to be the grandfather of the seventh Gungthang Rinpoche, one of the most revered religious leaders in Amdo Province in northeastern Tibet.
Witnesses say after setting himself on fire, he shouted “long live Dalai Lama,” “free Tibet” and “let the Dalai Lama return to Tibet.”
This latest protest raises the number of self-immolations in Tibetan regions of China to 55 since February 2009. The Tibetan government-in-exile says 45 of those cases have resulted in deaths.
China accuses Tibetan exiles of self-immolating as part of a separatist struggle. But representatives of the Dalai Lama say protesters are driven to self-immolate largely because they cannot tolerate China’s policies in Tibet.
The Dalai Lama is seen as the spiritual leader for Tibetan Buddhists.