A Tibetan nomad woman died of self-immolation protest yesterday evening in Meuruma Township in Ngaba (Ch: Aba) County in Ngaba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province, in the Tibetan province of Amdo.
Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) has been informed by a reliable source that Tsepey, 19, died soon after setting herself alight shortly after 4 pm (local time) on 22 December. Tsepey died instantly on the main road in Meuruma Township, the site of her self-immolation protest, but police took away her body by force.
Tsepey was the fourth youngest among her six brothers and sisters, born to parents Chimey Dorjee (also called Chidor) and Chenpa in the nomadic camp no. 4 of Meuruma Township. Tsepey never received any formal schooling and became a nomad like her parents. She was known for her “honest and peaceful disposition” in the community, according to the source who has contacts in Tibet.
The travails of Tsepey’s family have only begun with the death of their daughter. Shortly after the self-immolation death of Tsepey, police detained her parents, father Chidor who is in his 60s and mother Chenpa in her late 50s, and her older brother Yimey. No reason was given for their sudden detention. It is not known whether they are still being detained or released. Their whereabouts and condition remain unknown.
The self-immolation protest by Tsepey is the tenth this year and the total number of self-immolation protests since 2009 has now risen to 135 in Tibet.
TCHRD is deeply concerned about the sudden surge in self-immolation protests inside Tibet and calls on the Chinese government to put an end to new and existing policies of sinister repression including mass monitoring and surveillance campaigns which provide the spark for such deadly protests. TCHRD believes that China’s so-called ‘stability maintenance’ policies in Tibet have failed to consider and address the aspirations and grievances of the Tibetan people. TCHRD condemns the continued use of collective punishment to intimidate and terrorize local Tibetans in areas where self-immolation protests occur.
“We protest the arbitrary detention of Tsepey’s aged parents and her older brother as this is another form of repressive tactics used by the local authorities to punish people associated in one way or the other to self-immolators, and to spread fear and intimidation as a deterrent to future protests,” said Tsering Tsomo, the executive director of TCHRD.
“We urge the Chinese authorities to do what is good and civilized by releasing Tsepey’s body to her family so that proper traditional rites and rituals are carried out in the memory of the deceased. The deceased’s parents and brother must be released immediately from illegal detention.”