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Tibetan father of four self-immolates after oppressive measures to prevent Dalai Lama birthday celebrations

May 21, 2015

A Tibetan father of four set fire to himself in Tawu apparently in response to tightened security in the buildup to the Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday. Tenzin Gyatso, the fourth Tibetan to self-immolate this year, was taken away by armed police and it is not known if he is still alive. He set fire to himself outside a government building where political education was carried out, according to Tibetan sources.

Tenzin Gyatso’s self-immolation yesterday (May 20) followed an intense paramilitary buildup in Tawu (Chinese: Daofu), Kardze (Chinese: Ganzi), Sichuan, apparently linked to the authorities’ efforts to prevent any celebrations of the Dalai Lama’s upcoming 80th birthday on July 6.

Since 2008, security forces in Tawu have responded harshly to peaceful expressions of dissent and gatherings of Tibetans for cultural and religious purposes. Two years ago, police in Tawu opened fire on Tibetans peacefully celebrating the Dalai Lama’s 78th birthday, injuring at least ten people. Other Tibetans detained were tortured in custody.

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