Skip to main content

Tibetan who burned herself to death had head injury, China says

By the CNN Wire Staff
March 7, 2012 -- Updated 1142 GMT (1942 HKT)
Tibetans display portraits of people who killed themselves in self-immolation, during a protest in front of the Liberty Square in Taipei in October 2011.
Tibetans display portraits of people who killed themselves in self-immolation, during a protest in front of the Liberty Square in Taipei in October 2011.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • China says a Tibetan who set herself on fire had lost "her courage for life"
  • Tibetan rights groups say Tibetans are self-immolating to protest Chinese rule
  • Three Tibetans reportedly burned themselves to death between Saturday and Monday
  • This month marks the anniversary of Tibetan protests in 2008 that ended in bloodshed

(CNN) -- A Tibetan student who died after setting herself on fire in western China had been experiencing difficulties following a head injury, the official Chinese news agency reported Wednesday.

The student, Tsering Kyi, was the first of three Tibetans who reportedly self-immolated between Saturday and Monday. It is the only one of the three alleged acts so far acknowledged by the Chinese authorities.

Tibetan advocacy groups say the self-immolations -- more than 20 of which are reported to have taken place in the past year -- are to protest Chinese rule.

They follow an increase in security measures by the Chinese authorities in response to unrest among Tibetans in western areas of China in recent months and ahead of the sensitive anniversary of protests by Tibetan monks four years ago that ended in bloodshed.

New realities for Tibetans in China
Tibet officials fired for neglect
CNN story blacked out in China

Activists say the disturbing acts reflect an increasingly repressive environment under China's control. Beijing rejects accusations of oppression of Tibetans, saying that under its rule living standards have greatly improved for the Tibetan people.

Chinese officials have described the self-immolations as "extreme" acts. The report Wednesday by Xinhua, the government news agency, suggested Tsering Kyi, 20, had been troubled by the aftereffects of a head injury before she set herself on fire in the county of Maqu, or Machu in Tibetan, in Gansu Province.

"She was sent to hospital and has had occasional fainting spells," Xinhua reported, citing the local police. "The medical treatment held up her studies and her school scores began to decline, which put a lot of pressure on her and made her lose her courage for life and study."

A local official said similarities in the self-immolations point to a transparent political motive and behind-the-scenes orchestration, Xinhua reported. The victims were used by separatists to create chaos, according to Wu Zegang, chief of the Aba prefecture in Sichuan province.

On Sunday, a mother of four named Rinchen died after setting herself alight in front of Kirti Monastery in the county of Aba, which Tibetans call Ngaba, in Sichuan Province, according to Tibetan advocacy groups like London-based Free Tibet.

And on Monday, an 18-year-old Tibetan man named Dorje burned himself to death in a nomadic area of Aba, according to advocacy groups. Local officials reached by telephone declined to comment on the matter.

It was not possible to independently verify the accounts of the self-immolations. China restricts journalists' access to the areas where they have been taking place.

This month will mark the fourth anniversary of protest marches by Tibetan monks in Lhasa that ended violently in 2008.

Tibetans say the situation escalated to violence when Chinese police beat monks who had been protesting peacefully; Chinese authorities claim Tibetans launched attacks on Chinese businesses. Officially the death toll is under 20; Tibetans in exile say the death toll is near 150.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
See CNN's complete coverage on China.
July 18, 2014 -- Updated 0230 GMT (1030 HKT)
Some savvy individuals in China are claiming naming rights to valuable foreign brands. Here's how companies can combat them.
July 16, 2014 -- Updated 0911 GMT (1711 HKT)
Is Xi Jinping a true reformist or merely a "dictator" in disguise? CNN's Beijing bureau chief Jaime FlorCruz dissects the leader's policies
July 8, 2014 -- Updated 0344 GMT (1144 HKT)
With a population of 1.3 billion, you'd think that there would be 11 people in China who are good enough to put up a fight on the football pitch.
July 4, 2014 -- Updated 0631 GMT (1431 HKT)
26-year-old Ji Cheng is the first rider from China to compete for competitive cycling's highest honor.
July 7, 2014 -- Updated 1124 GMT (1924 HKT)
China's richest man, Wang Jianlin, may not yet be a household name outside of China, but that could be about to change.
July 4, 2014 -- Updated 0414 GMT (1214 HKT)
Hong Kong's narrow streets were once a dazzling gallery of neon, where banks and even bordellos plied their trade under sizzling tubular signs.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 2357 GMT (0757 HKT)
When President Xi Jinping arrives in Seoul this week, the Chinese leader will have passed over North Korea in favor of its arch rival.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 1159 GMT (1959 HKT)
Three more officials have been given the chop as part of China's anti-corruption drive, including former aides to the retired security chief.
July 1, 2014 -- Updated 1305 GMT (2105 HKT)
As thousands of Hong Kongers prepare for an annual protest, voices in China's press warn pro-democracy activism is a bad idea.
June 30, 2014 -- Updated 0437 GMT (1237 HKT)
Hong Kongers are demanding the right to directly elect their next leader, setting up a face-off with Beijing.
July 1, 2014 -- Updated 0656 GMT (1456 HKT)
The push for democratic reform in Hong Kong is testing China's "one country, two systems" model.
June 30, 2014 -- Updated 1156 GMT (1956 HKT)
Along a winding Chinese mountain road dotted with inns and restaurants is Jinan Orphanage, a place of refuge and site for troubled parents to dump unwanted children.
June 26, 2014 -- Updated 0836 GMT (1636 HKT)
CNN's Kristie Lu Stout invites Isaac Mao, Han Dongfang, and James Miles to discuss the rise of civil society in China and social media's crucial role.
June 26, 2014 -- Updated 0334 GMT (1134 HKT)
Chen Guangbiao wants rich people to give more to charity and he'll do anything to get their attention, including buying lunch for poor New Yorkers.
June 26, 2014 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
Architects are planning to build the future world's tallest towers in China. They're going to come in pretty colors.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 1147 GMT (1947 HKT)
Anna Coren visits Yulin's annual dog meat festival. Dogs are part of the daily diet here, with an estimated 10,000 dogs killed for the festival alone.
June 19, 2014 -- Updated 0638 GMT (1438 HKT)
People know little about sex, but are having plenty of it. We take a look at the ramifications of a lack of sex education in China.
June 13, 2014 -- Updated 0812 GMT (1612 HKT)
Hong Kongers have reacted angrily to a Chinese government white paper affirming Beijing's control over the territory.
The emphasis on national glory -- rather than purely personal achievement -- is key.
June 16, 2014 -- Updated 1614 GMT (0014 HKT)
A replica of the Effel Tower in Tianducheng, a luxury real estate development located in Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang province.
What's the Eiffel Tower doing in China? Replica towns of the world's most famous monuments spring up all over China.
June 11, 2014 -- Updated 0013 GMT (0813 HKT)
Rapid development hasn't just boosted the economy -- it has opened up vast swathes of the country, says a man who has spent much of his life exploring it.
June 10, 2014 -- Updated 0654 GMT (1454 HKT)
The World Cup is apparently making a lot of people "ill" in China.
ADVERTISEMENT