© 2024 KALW 91.7 FM Bay Area
KALW Public Media / 91.7 FM Bay Area
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Another Tibetan Nun Sets Herself On Fire

In what's becoming a disturbing trend in China, another Tibetan nun has set herself on fire to protest the country's strict control of their religion.

The Free Tibet Campaign says Palden Choetso is second nun to self immolate. Nine monks have done the same since March.

The AP reportsChina's official Xinhua News Agency confirmed the death but said it was "unclear" why the woman had killed herself. The AP adds:

Although there is no tradition of self-immolation as a form of protest in Tibetan society, the suicides are seen as a sign of growing desperation in the ethnically Tibetan region, where tensions have been running high since massive anti-government protests in 2008.

Most ignited the flames while calling for Tibetan freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama, who fled to India amid an abortive uprising against Chinese rule in 1959. Aged in their late teens and twenties, at least six died of their injuries, while the condition of the others is not known.

According to The Free Tibet Campaign, before setting herself on fire, the nun called out, "long live the Dalai Lama" and "let the Dalai Lama return to Tibet."

Tibet's leader in exile, Lobsang Sangay released a statement about the situation:

The incidents are a clear indication of the genuine grievances of the Tibetans and their sense of deep resentment and despair over the prevailing conditions in Tibet. It is therefore of the utmost urgency that every possible effort be made to address the underlying root causes of Tibetan grievances and resentment. Consequently, I wish to reiterate my firm commitment in finding a mutually acceptable solution in the spirit of the Middle-Way Approach. I have therefore asked the two envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to make efforts to resume the dialogue at the earliest convenience.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.