Tibetan father ‘sets himself alight’ in Sichuan province

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 05 December, 2013, 2:03pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 05 December, 2013, 2:03pm

A father-of-two set himself on fire in protest at Beijing’s rule in Tibetan regions, triggering clashes and a security crackdown, a US broadcaster and an overseas pressure group said on Thursday.

Radio Free Asia said Konchok Tseten, 30, torched himself in Aba prefecture, an ethnically Tibetan area of the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan which has seen a wave of similar actions.

He was severely burned, and local Tibetans clashed with police as they tried to stop them taking him away, sources told RFA, which is funded by the US government.

“Details of Tseten’s condition were not immediately available amid a clampdown on information... following the self-immolation” late on Tuesday, the report said.

London-based campaign group the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) named the man as Kunchok Tseten, and said his wife and some relatives were believed to have been taken into custody.

The campaign group said on Thursday that shops and restaurants in a township in Aba, which is known as Ngaba in Tibetan, have been closed and some mobile phones confiscated in an attempt to stop news of the incident spreading.

There have been more than 120 such acts in Tibet and elsewhere in China since 2009, most of them fatal.

Self-immolations peaked in the run up to the ruling Communist Party’s pivotal five-yearly congress last November, and have become less common in recent months.

A monk set himself on fire in a Tibetan area of Qinghai province in northwestern China last month, reports said.

Two Tibetan monks reportedly died in April after setting themselves on fire in Aba.

Beijing condemns the acts and blames them on exiled Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama, saying he uses them to further a separatist agenda.

The Dalai Lama, a Nobel Peace laureate who has lived in India since 1959 after a failed uprising in Tibet, has described the burnings as acts of desperation that he is powerless to stop.

Police in Aba said they had no reports of the incident.