Tibetan man self-immolates in Golog. Harrowing image reaches Tibetans in exile.

A 42 year-old Tibetan, Kunchok, set himself on fire outside a police station in the Golog (Chinese: Guoluo) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Qinghai Province on September 16, according information received from Tibet. Image of Kunchok with his face completely burnt has reached Tibetans in exile.

Kunchok Immolation 100414

An image of Kunchok that reached Tibetans in exile.

Kunchok’s self immolation took place in Tsangkor town in Gade (Chinese: Gande) county in the Prefecture but Tibetans nearby managed to extinguish the flames. Kunchok was rushed to hospital, and was deeply distressed that he had survived, according to Tibetan sources. Although the self-immolation happened on September 16, news only reached Tibetans in exile yesterday (October 5) due to restrictions on information and tightened security in the area.

Radio Free Asia reported a Tibetan source saying that Kunchok, whose son is a monk and daughter a nun in a local monastery, “self-immolated in protest against Chinese policy in Tibet. He did it for the interest of the Tibetans.” (http://www.rfa.org/english/news/tibet/burning-10042014192656.html). Kunchok was believed to have been taken to a hospital in Xining, the provincial capital of Qinghai, and the same sources said that the chances of his survival were slim.

Kunchok’s self-immolation occurred a day before a Tibetan student, Lhamo Tashi, set fire to himself and died on September 17 outside a government Public Security Bureau headquarters in Tsoe City, northeastern Tibet, where he was studying. These were the first two self-immolations for five months in Tibet, and Lhamo Tashi’s was the 133rd by a Tibetan in Tibet and China. (http://www.savetibet.org/tibetan-student-sets-fire-to-himself-outside-government-office-in-northeastern-tibet/#sthash.JW9ZEfia.dpuf). Lhamo Tashi chose the prefectural headquarters of the Public Security Bureau as the location for his self-immolation, while Kunchok set fire to himself outside a police station in Gade. Most Tibetans who have self-immolated have set fire to themselves either outside government offices or near monasteries.

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