Chinese authorities threw a security blanket over a Tibetan town in Gansu province and told residents to fight “splittism” after a Tibetan man burned himself to death Tuesday at the entrance to a Chinese mining site in protest against Beijing’s rule.
Tsering Dondrub, a 34-year-old father of two, self-immolated outside a mine in Amchok town in Gansu’s Sangchu (in Chinese, Xiahe) county at about 8:30 a.m., local and exile Tibetan sources said.
“Now, the Amchok area is full of Chinese police, and Tibetans are finding it difficult to attend the prayer service and funeral,” a resident of the area told RFA’s Tibetan service, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“However, [Dondrub’s] remains are in the hands of the Tibetans,” the source said.
“There are several Chinese police vehicles in the area,” he said, adding that one vehicle displayed a large banner written in red ink in Tibetan and Chinese carrying the words “Fight Splittism.”
China often denounces exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama as a “splittist” seeking an independent Tibet, accusations he has repeatedly denied.
Tibetans self-immolation protesters have frequently called for the Dalai Lama, who lives in exile in India, to return to Tibet, from which he fled after a failed national revolt against Chinese occupation in 1959.
Separately, Tibetan sources in exile with contacts in the region said Tsering Dondrub was known for his “gentle character” and devotion to the Tibetan cause.
Dondrub’s mother was identified as Drukmo Tso and his father as Lubum Gyal. He leaves his wife, Tamdin Tso, and two children, one source said.
“Right now, the monks of Amchok monastery are conducting prayers for the deceased, and a large number of Tibetans have gathered to express their solidarity and respect for his sacrifice,” another source said.
Tsering Dondrub is the 78th Tibetan to have self-immolated to protest Chinese rule since the wave of fiery protests began in February 2009, and the fourth in as many days.
Self-immolations by Tibetans living in areas governed by China have intensified in recent weeks, and especially during the 18th Congress of the ruling Chinese Communist Party, which announced a once-in-a-decade national leadership transition last week.
Reported by RFA’s Tibetan service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.