Latest Tibetan Self Immolation Brings Toll to 149

FILE - In this June 11, 1963 file photo, one of a series taken by then AP Saigon correspondent Malcom Browne, Thich Quang Duc, a Buddhist monk, burns himself to death on a Saigon street to protest alleged persecution of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese government. Browne, acclaimed for his trenchant reporting of the Vietnam War and a photo of a Buddhist monk's suicide by fire that shocked the Kennedy White House into a critical policy re-evaluation, died Monday night, Aug. 27, 2012 at a hospital in New Hampshire, not far from his home in Thetford, Vt. He was 81. (AP Photo/Malcolm Browne)

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama has been in exile for decades. But on Thursday, a Tibetan monk reportedly died after burning himself alive in Chengtsa County of North-eastern Tibet. Like many who have made the same sacrifice, he was protesting Chinese rule over the Himalayan nation. He was the fourth to do so since the beginning of 2017.

Jamyang Losel, who was reportedly about 22-years-old, set himself ablaze near a prayer wheel in Chengtsa County of northeastern Tibet, according to a TPI source speaking on condition of anonymity.

“He died of severe burn injuries after setting himself on fire. His family approached the authorities for the body but they were not give the custody of his body,” he told reporters.

According to the source, Losel is a monk of Jerteng Monastery, coming from the Nangra Dhungkya village in Chengtsa County of northeastern Tibet.

Following the incident, Chinese authorities reportedly moved in to place heavy restrictions in the area.

The latest self-immolation would bring total verified self-immolations inside Tibet to 149. Of these, 125 have died. Most of the self-immolators called for the return of the Dalai Lama and freedom for the Tibetan people.

The Chinese Communist Party views the Dalai Lama as a dangerous separatist and says Tibet remains in its territory. The people of Tibet say they had belonged to an independent nation for centuries until Chinese troops invaded in the 1940s.

Since then, more than 6,000 monasteries have been looted and destroyed. Tibetans accuse China of leading torture, rape, starvation, and forced marches under what China calls a “Peaceful Liberation.”

About Andrew Burke 145 Articles
Editor-in-Chief Andrew Burke is a lifelong aficionado of all things Chinese. He studied Mandarin while living in Taiwan for six years and now works as a digitization specialist at the Yenching Library, which specializes in Asian books and documents, at Harvard University where he also studies topics related to China, Chinese, Asia and foreign affairs.