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Mother of two dies of self-immolation protest, cremation on Sunday

A Tibetan mother of two who died soon after she staged a self-immolation protest on 7 August near Tsoe Monastery in Tsoe (Chinese: Hezuo) city of Kanlho (Chinese: Gannan) Prefecture, Gansu Province will be cremated on 12 August, a reliable source informed TCHRD today.

“Dolker Tso, 27, set herself on fire as she shouted slogans for ‘the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet,’ ‘Tibet's freedom’ and ‘Long life of the Dalai Lama,’” said the source, quoting local Tibetans and monks who witnessed the self-immolation.

The source, who is a close family friend of Dolker Tso, asked not to be named for fear of retribution.

A day after the self-immolation, some reporters sent by the Chinese authorities visited Dolker Tso’ home in Tasur village in Nawu township and tried to take pictures of her burnt body but were stopped by the family and local Tibetans who had gathered there to offer prayers, said the source.

The official Chinese news agency Xinhua erroneously reported that Dolker Tso was the mother of two daughters. But our source said Dolker Tso has a 5-yr-old daughter and a 3-yr-old son, adding that her husband Pema Dhondup, 24, hails from Bharmanang village.

A large number of People’s Armed Police including S.W.A.T. officers are now deployed in Tasur village, keeping a close watch over Dolker Tso’s body and the movement of her family, relatives and local Tibetans who have gathered there to observe necessary rituals.

The S.W.A.T. officers have also been deployed in the Bharmanang village where the family of Dolker Tso’s husband lives.

“Dolker Tso belonged to a farming family. Although illiterate, she was a regular listener of the Radio Free Asia Amdo dialect news service and used to carry her small portable radio as she took out the cattle to graze in the nearby mountains,” the source said, adding "she was well-informed about the happenings in and around Tibet and was acutely disturbed by the series of self-immolation protests.”

“As a child, she had heard elders talking about early years of Chinese occupation during which some members in her extended family were subjected to extreme brutality and public humiliation including struggle sessions (Tibetan: Thamzing),” the same source said.

Hearing the news of Tso’s demise, over a hundred lay Tibetans and monks from nearby areas of Labrang (Chinese: Xiahe), Rebkong (Chinese: Tongren), and Ngaba (Chinese: Aba) came in vehicles to attend the ritual ceremony for Dolker Tso but were turned away by security officers.

However, many are now traversing the nearby mountains on foot to show their solidarity and attend the cremation ceremony. Two hours after Dolker Tso’ self-immolation protest, three monks from Tsoe Monastery – Choephel, Sherab and Tsondu - were detained by the Chinese police.

According to our source, the monks were apparently detained for handling the charred body of Dolker Tso. Sherab and Tsondu were released the next day but the police continued to detain Choephel, a cousin of Dolker Tso.

Facing strong opposition from a large number of monks from Tsoe Monastery and local Tibetans who confronted the security personnel, Choephel was later released but local Tibetans fear that he will be detained again.


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