Ti­betan nun burns her­self to death in China: re­ports

The China Post - - COMMENTARY -

A Ti­betan nun is be­lieved to have died af­ter set­ting her­self on fire to protest China’s rule over the Hi­malayan re­gion and to voice sup­port for the Dalai Lama, rights groups and me­dia said.

Yeshi Khando walked around the Kardze Monastery in a type of prayer that is com­mon in Ti­betan Bud­dhism, and then set her­self alight on Wed­nes­day near the Ganzi county po­lice sta­tion, the Bri­tish-based Free Ti­bet group, the In­ter­na­tional Cam­paign for Ti­bet (ICT) and U.S.-funded Ra­dio Free Asia (RFA) said.

The 47-year-old nun “called for the re­turn of the Dalai Lama and also for his long life,” RFA re­ported, cit­ing anony­mous sources and re­fer­ring to Ti­bet’s ex­iled spir­i­tual leader.

“She also called for the free­dom for Ti­bet.”

RFA said that those present do not be­lieve Khando sur­vived.

Her body was quickly re­moved by se­cu­rity forces and her fam­ily was sum­moned by the po­lice on Thurs­day, Free Ti­bet said.

This week, Ti­bet’s Com­mu­nist Party Sec­re­tary Chen Quan­guo or­dered Ti­betan monas­ter­ies to dis­play Chi­nese flags and to vow to as­sess Bud­dhist monks and nuns for their “pa­tri­o­tism.”

It is not clear on what grounds the as­sess­ments would be made. China of­ten uses terms such as “pa­tri­otic” and “har­mo­nious” to mean al­le­giance to po­lit­i­cal au­thor­i­ties.

There have been more than 130 cases of Ti­betans set­ting them­selves on fire in China since 2009, most of them fa­tal, both the ICT and RFA said.

Self- im­mo­la­tions peaked in the run-up to the rul­ing Com­mu­nist Party’s piv­otal five-yearly congress in Novem­ber 2012, and have be­come less com­mon since.

Many Ti­betans in China ac­cuse the gov­ern­ment of re­li­gious re­pres­sion and erod­ing their cul­ture, as the coun­try’s ma­jor­ity Han eth­nic group in­creas­ingly moves into his­tor­i­cally Ti­betan ar­eas.

Bei­jing con­demns the acts and blames them on 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 self­im­mo­la­tions as acts of des­per­a­tion that he is pow­er­less to stop.

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