Tibet: first self-immolations in Lhasa

Two young Tibetan men set fire to themselves May 27 outside one of Tibet’s holiest shrines, the Jokhang Templeā€”marking the first self-immolations in Lhasa, Tibet’s historic capital, where security has been tight since a March 2008 protest wave. Chinese state media reported that one of the young men died, while another is still alive. The two men, who self-immolated together, worked at a restaurant in Lhasa. One was said to be from Ngaba (Chinese: Aba) in Sichuan province, where most of the self-immolations have taken place, and the other from Labrang (Chinese: Xiahe) in the part of Gansu province known to Tibetans as Amdo. The self-immolations took place during Saga Dawa, an important religious period for Tibetans that commemorates the Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and death. The official media reported that Lhasa’s Public Security Bureau has set up a special task force to investigate the case. (International Campaign for Tibet, May 28)

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