Two Tibetans Set Selves Ablaze in West China

By Associated Press 21 June 2012

BEIJING—An exile group has released a graphic video of two Tibetans collapsing in flames during another suicidal protest against Chinese rule, and photos of the charred remains of one of the men.

The Tibetan Youth Congress said by email that the two men immolated on Wednesday in Yushu prefecture, a heavily Tibetan area in west China’s Qinghai province. The group and the official Xinhua news agency said one man died and the other was seriously injured.

Xinhua reported on Thursday that the dead man was a local herder and said the survivor was a migrant carpenter from Aba prefecture in Sichuan province. It said their names and ages were not immediately available.

The cases add to about three dozen self-immolations over the past year in ethnic Tibetan areas of China in protest of what activists say is Beijing’s heavy-handed rule in the region. The government has confirmed some but not all of them.

The Tibetan Youth Congress identified the dead man as 24-year-old Tenzin Khedup and the injured as Ngawang Norphel, 22.

The group released photos of a charred body lying on the bed of a pickup truck and a video showing two men holding up Tibetan independence flags as flames engulf them. Both stumble and fall in the seven-second video before one man rises and runs down the street in flames. High-pitched screaming can be heard but it’s not clear who is making the sound.

The short video shows several bystanders, including a woman who exits a car next to the burning men and runs away.

The group said “anonymous citizen journalists” took the video and photos. US broadcaster Radio Free Asia‘s Chinese language service posted the video to YouTube.

Beijing blames the Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader the Dalai Lama for inciting the self-immolations. The Dalai Lama denies that and says the acts are the result of China’s repressive policies in Tibet.