(WNN) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, CHINA, EASTERN ASIA: Another Tibetan Buddhist nun in the Tibetan Autonomous Region in Sichuan, China has set herself on fire outside the monastery where she was on retreat as a part of a string of ongoing self-immolation protests made against China’s continuing clamp down on indigenous Tibetans. 31-years of age and identified only as Dolma, the nun has essentially disappeared with no other information about her condition released to date by Chinese officials.
Originally from the Bhachoed monastery in Bathang county in Kardze in the Chinese Sichuan region, Dolma had most recently gone into retreat at the Rethod monastery for a few months before her self-immolation protest occurred. The woman set herself on fire while circumambulating the monastery, outlined Kalsang Gyaltsen to RFA – Radio Free Asia news. Radio Free Asia, along with Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty is a media member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors appointed by the U.S. President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
Gyaltsen is the current Special Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Europe.
Circumambulating is an ancient Tibetan Buddhist practice known through the action of walking in a circle around a holy building three times counter-clockwise while saying a special prayer or chant.
“The Tibetans who were at the scene intervened and put out the fire, and sent her to the hospital,” Gyaltsen outlined to RFA.
On Saturday March 20, 2014, following Dolma’s self-immolation, armed police security arrested three nuns who had been resident nuns, along with Dolma, at the Rethod monastery. The three women’s whereabouts are currently unknown.
After Dolma was taken to the Bathang county hospital, the hospital was locked down by security forces and all communications were restricted. As far as this report has been notified, these restrictions currently remain in place in the area.
In a region where only the possession of an image of the spiritually revered Tibetan teacher and monk, Nobel Peace Prize winner H.H. Dalai Lama, is considered an ‘arrestable offense’. Tibetans who live in the Sichuan region, as well as other regions, continue to be restricted and denied what they convey are personal freedoms as part of their own cultural identity, including language and belief. Native Tibetans living in the region are currently not allowed to protest or state opinions on human rights needs that include any discussion of freedom and/or fair treatment.
Dolma belongs to the Thonglaka Tsang family which is well-known in the county for its history in resistance to China’s occupation in the 1950s. A number of the nun’s family members have also become senior monks (known in Tibetan Buddhism as rinpoches or teachers) within the Bhachoede monastery.
To date over 130 self-immolations have occurred in protest to China’s policy and treatment of indigenous Tibetans. Dolma’s act of protest is considered to be the 133rd self-immolation since they began in Delhi, India, on April 27, 1998. Tibetan self-immolations have been ongoin in the regions of Sichuan, Gansu and Qinghai provinces since 2009.
While the Dalai Lama says that the acts are ‘understandable’ he does not encourage what he calls ‘these acts of suffering’.
In May 14, 2008 a group of 54 nuns from Pangri nunnery in Kardze country, who had staged a peaceful demonstration outside the Kardze county government offices were arrested. To know more about them and others who have been arrested link HERE
For more information and to see a comprehensive list of the names of those who have protested China’s policies using fire through self-immolation at: International Campaign for Tibet
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