Tibet: self-immolations continue —and spread to India

Two Tibetan monks set themselves on fire in Maerkang, Sichuan province, on March 30—bringing the total of protest self-immolations in little more than a year to over 30. The monks came from a monastery 80 kilometers away. When fellow clergy learned of the immolations, they set out for the city only to be blocked by police about halfway to Maerkang (known to Tibetans as Barkham). (AP, March 30) Four days earlier, Tibetan exile Jampa Yeshi self-immolated at a protest march New Delhi, ahead of President Hu Jintao’s scheduled arrival in India. (NYT, March 26)

Three Tibetans who had been on a public hunger strike across First Ave. from the UN headquarters in New York City broke their fast on March 22, a month after it began. Richard Bennett, special adviser to the UN assistant secretary general on human rights, met with two of the men and agreed to appoint a special rapporteur for human rights to look into the hunger strikers’ concerns. Only two of the hunger strikers were present for the breaking of the fast with a glass of orange juice. The third, Dorjee Gyalpo, 69, had been forcefully removed from the protest site (the Isaiah Wall) three days earlier by police when he couldn’t stand up when asked to do so by officers. Police gave him no option but to leave by ambulance, and he was transported to New York’s Bellevue Hospital, where he continued his fast. (CBC, March 22)

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