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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

More Tibetans Self-Immolate As China's Party Congress Opens

November 08, 2012

by VOA News

Two more Tibetans have set themselves afire to protest Chinese policies in Tibet, raising the total of self-immolation protests to six in the past two days.

A former monk, 18-year-old Kalsang Jinpa, died after setting himself on fire Thursday in Rongwo town in Rebkong, eastern Tibet (called Qinghai Province in Chinese).

Witnesses said he raised a white banner calling for the Dalai Lama’s return to Tibet. They also said the protest drew a large crowd and the situation there remains tense.

Rebkong has now seen five self-immolation protests since March, including Wednesday's fatal protest by 23-year-old single mother,Tamding Tso.

Tibetan exiles also confirmed Thursday that another man set himself on fire a day earlier in Driru, in Nagchu Prefecture in the Tibet Autonomous Region.

Word of the new protests came as China opened its 18th Party Congress in Beijing for a once-in-a-decade leadership transition.

On Wednesday, three teenage monks from the Ngoshul Monastery in Goman Township set themselves afire. One of them died on the scene.

The new self-immolations bring the total number to t least 69 since February of 2009. In 54 cases, the protesters have died.

On Wednesday, Tibet's government-in-exile pleaded with China to change its approach to the issue of Tibet.

Parliament Speaker Pempa Tsering says it may be the only way to stop the deadly protests. He also lamented that many Tibetans feel they have no choice but to burn themselves alive to make their cries heard.

China has long accused Tibetan exiles of self-immolating as part of a separatist struggle, denouncing them as terrorists.

VOA's Tibetan service reported last month the offer of cash rewards in China's Gannan prefecture, called Kanlho prefecture by Tibetans. Posters promised $8,000 to anyone who provides information "on the people who plan, incite to carry out, control and lure people to commit self-immolation."

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