Tibetan mother dies of self-immolation, denied proper cremation by Chinese authorities

A Tibetan mother of one has died after setting herself on fire in protest against Chinese rule in Dzamthang (Ch: Rangtang) County in Ngaba (Ch: Aba) Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province.

According to information received by TCHRD, Chuktso, 20, died after her self-immolation protest on 16 April near Jonang Monastery in Dzamthang County in the Tibetan province of Amdo. Sources said the burning protest took place at around 3 pm (local time).

Shortly after the self-immolation, local Tibetans took Chuktso’s body to Jonang Monastery where the monks held prayers and conducted religious rituals for the deceased. The body was later taken to the deceased’s home.

Family members of Chuktso were forced to cremate the body in haste that same night after orders came from County government and Public Security Bureau(PSB) office asking for an immediate cremation or allow confiscation of the body. 

A large number of Tibetans who died of self-immolation protests had been denied their right to practise their own faith including something as basic as the right to a dignified and culturally appropriate cremation after one passes on to the next lifetime. Family members, relatives and friends of those who died in self-immolation protests had been harassed and pressured into following arbitrary orders from the Chinese authorities on disposing off bodies.

On 24 March this year, when another Tibetan woman, Kalkyi, 24, died of self-immolation protest, local authorities issued stern orders telling the deceased’s family members to cremate her body immediately. Kalkyi was cremated the same night of her self-immolation protest.

In recent years in Ngaba, Chinese authorities have confiscated bodies of self-immolation protesters, whose family members were later handed ashes, believed to be the remains of their loved ones. These families have no way of knowing the truth about their loved ones’ death and the legitimacy of the ashes.  

Security forces have been increased in and around Jonang Monastery and the village following the latest self-immolation, sources told TCHRD.

Chuktso was born in Bharma Village in Dzamthang County. Her father’s name is Tenkho and mother’s Donkyi. Chuktso was also a mother to a three-year-old child.

Bharma Village, located near Jonang Monastery, is a farming and nomadic village in Dzamthang County.

Chuktso is the sixth Tibetan to self-immolate in protest against Chinese rule in Dzamthang. The total confirmed number of self-immolation protests in Tibet has now reached 115.