8-14 February 2013 #642

Self-immolation moves to Nepal

One hundred Tibetan monks and nuns have set themselves on fire in protest against the Chinese presence in Tibet

Photo: Nepali Times
The man burned for about three minutes before some covered him with blankets and started pouring water, witnesses said.
As the Chinese government cracks down heavily on those involved in self-immolations in Tibet, the protest act has moved to Kathmandu in Nepal where there is a large Tibetan refugee community.

Despite intense police scrutiny in areas like Boudha where there are sizeable populations of Tibetans, a 25-year-old man believed to be a monk, set himself on fire at 8:30AM on Wednesday. Eye-witnesses told Nepali Times the man with a shaved head and a down jacket had spoken to them minutes before dousing himself in kerosene and setting himself on fire.

“He shook our hands and said he loved Tibet and the Dalai Lama, and even wanted to pose for a picture with a lighter in his hand,” one Belgian visitor said, “soon we heard a commotion outside and we saw this man on fire.”

At first bystanders started running away, and the police when they arrived made no move to douse the flames. The man burned for about three minutes before some covered him with blankets and started pouring water, witnesses said. The man is now in the Teaching Hospital, severely burnt, but still alive. An hour after the event, pilgrims and tourists were walking around at Boudha as if nothing had happened, although security appeared to be tighter.

The man is said to be the 100th monk and nun to self-immolate in protest against the Chinese presence in Tibet. Last week the Chinese government sentenced two people to prison terms for instigating self-immolations. This is the second known self-immolation attempt in Nepal.

The Tibetan monk died at 10:30 pm last night at Tribhuvan Teaching Hospital, official reports say.

(Updated 12:23 pm)

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Tolerating intolerance

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