“This is the ninth self-immolation in recent months by ethnic Tibetans and indicates a new level of desperation on the part of Tibetans against the Chinese governments’ repression of their culture and religious freedom,” said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Director.
The Chinese government has responded to protests through mass arrests of people including 300 Kirti monastery monks, enforced disappearances, imprisonment, “patriotic re-education” of monks, and possible killings by the security forces.
“The Chinese authorities have not heeded the demands of Tibetans, but have instead resorted to heavy-handed tactics that can only deepen and further fuel resentments. They should respect the right of Tibetans to practice their religion and culture.” said Sam Zarifi.
“The heavy security presence in these regions contributes to an already tense climate. Those imprisoned for their peaceful protest must be released immediately,” said Sam Zarifi.
Kirti monastery is in an ethnic Tibetan area of Sichuan province, which has seen repeated protests against denial of their religious and cultural rights. Seven monks from the monastery have set themselves on fire there in recent months. An eighth monk set himself on fire in another part of Sichuan province.