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18_february_2012_001Dharamsala: 17 February - Dharamsala: Another Tibetan self-immolated in protest of oppressive Chinese policies inside of Tibet. Dhamchoe Sangpo self immolated at around 6.00 AM Tibetan time in protest of recent restrictions imposed on the Bongthak Ewam Tare Shedrup Dhargey Ling Monastery in the Tsongon region of Amdo, eastern Tibet. He passed away shortly thereafter.

Dhamchoe Sangpo, 38, was a monk of the same monastery and the youngest of ten siblings. He spent the period from 1994-1997 in India studying at the Drepung Gomang Monastery in southern India.

He is the 24th Tibetan to self-immolate since 2009.

An earlier protest against proposed silver mining in the region by a monk named Kalsang resulted in heavy Chinese restrictions in the area. The monastery was reported to have been surrounded by Chinese military personnel, who would often interfere with prayer ceremonies and threaten to seal up the building if the monks misbehaved.

The Tibetan Parliament's press release states that the Chinese military is currently conducting an intensive search of the monastery, but contains no further details regarding Sangpo's immolation.

Expressing fear over continued self-immolations in the wake of increasingly stringent policies in Tibet, the Tibetan Parliament has issued an open letter to the Chinese Government. The letter contains seven requests for Chinese President Hu Jintao, most noteworthy among them the withdrawal of Chinese troops from the Tibet and a request to end polices that erode the Tibetan cultural identity.

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