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Young Tibetan Nun Dies After Self Immolation

6/19/2013 11:00 AM ET

A Tibetan nun in her early thirties has died after setting fire to herself on June 11 near a monastery in Tawu, eastern Tibet, during a gathering of several thousand monks for a religious debate and teaching.

Wangchen Dolma, a nun from the mountain retreat Barshab Dragkar, was taken away by police after she self-immolated, and she died on June 14, the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) reported on Tuesday quoting exile Tibetan sources in contact with Tibetans in the area.

The Washington-based rights group said the Chinese authorities did not return her body to the family, who are under close surveillance and may now not be allowed to leave their home. A Tibetan man who tried to put out the flames and help Wangchen Dolma was reportedly detained by police. Officials prevented monks, relatives and local people from visiting her house to offer condolences after she died.

Wangchen Dolma chose to self-immolate near Nyatso monastery in the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Sichuan at the time of a major inter-monastic debate and teaching. More than 3,000 monks from at least 50 monasteries representing all of the Buddhist schools had gathered to attend the teachings. After the self-immolation, communications were restricted in the area and surveillance of monks at Nyatso monastery was intensified.

With this, the number of Tibetans who died of self-immolation since February, 2009 reached 120.

The Chinese authorities in Tibet have intensified measures to prevent information reaching the outside world about the self-immolations, ICT alleged. This has been combined with a more aggressive and formalized response to the self-immolations, involving harsh sentencing and torture for those suspected of involvement, it said in a press release.

by RTT Staff Writer

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