Shortly into 2013 there has sadly been another self-immolation by a Tibetan protesting repressive Chinese rule in the region. Neil Connor has reported for the Tibet Sun on Jan. 13, 2013, First Tibetan this year self-immolates in China. The London-based group Free Tibet and US-based Radio Free Asia (RFA) have reported a Tibetan has died after setting himself on fire on Saturday to protest China’s rule of the Himalayan region. This was the first self-immolation of this year.
The tragic incident happened in Xiahe county, which is in western China’s Gansu province, also known as Sangchu in Tibetan. The deceased man was identified by the single name Tsebe or Tseba. His body was carried back to his home village about four kilometres away following a protest. At the time of the self-immolation the Tibetan man called out for the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama to be allowed to return to the region. Ever since February 2009, 96 ethnic Tibetans, many of them monks and nuns, have set themselves on fire in China to protest against Beijing’s rule in Tibet.
Free Tibet director Stephanie Brigden has said that the latest immolation demonstrates “Tibetan rejection of the Chinese occupation is as strong as ever." Brigden has also stated, “The new Chinese leadership and the international community cannot allow demands for freedom to continue to go unheeded. 2013 must be the year where positive change comes to Tibet.” In the meantime this self-immolation marks a sad beginning of 2013 for the Tibetans and their friends.