Beijing: A Tibetan rights group has released
graphic video of what it says is a Buddhist nun engulfed in flames on a city street in one of several apparent self-immolation protests against Chinese rule.
The video, released on Monday by Students for a Free
Tibet, purports to show Palden Choetso, whose death on Nov 3
in predominantly Tibetan Ganzi prefecture in Sichuan province
had previously been reported.
The video shows a woman in nun`s robes standing on a
street corner covered in bright red flames. She collapses to
the ground after about 15 seconds.
Additional footage shows about 10,000 mourners gathering
at a monastery for a candlelight vigil on Nov 6 to pay their
respects to the 35-year-old nun while about 1,000 monks and
nuns hold prayers inside.
The video also shows Chinese security forces in riot gear
shadowing monks and nuns taking part in a protest march, and a
column of armored paramilitary police patrol vehicles
traveling down a country road. The New York-based Students of
a Free Tibet said it obtained the video from sources in the
China restricts journalists` access to Tibetan areas of
western China and to Tibet itself, and it is nearly impossible
to verify statements about conditions there.
Those who filmed the incidents and then smuggled out the footage must have gone to great lengths and undertaken huge risks, said Tenzin Dorjee, Students for a Free Tibet`s executive director.
"And for us there is absolutely no question that this
needs to be seen by the world so that the world may be
galvanized to take action on behalf of the Tibetan people who
are at this point completely silenced by the Chinese
government," he told The Associated Press in New York.
At least 11 monks, nuns and former monks have
self-immolated this year in what are seen as acts of
desperation in the face of tightening controls over Tibetan
life and Buddhist culture.
Most ignited the flames while calling for Tibetan freedom
and the return of their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, who
fled to India amid an abortive uprising against Chinese rule
Tibet experts say self-immolation is not a traditional
means of political protest among Tibetans, but the recent
cases are a sign of how difficult conditions have become in