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tibet-self-immolation-2012Dharamshala: Wearing traditional Tibetan clothing and calling for the freedom of Tibet, the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and His Holiness the Karmapa, Yungdrung: a young Tibetan man from Kham (Eastern Tibet) has become the latest Tibetan to self-immolate amid a deepening crisis in the region.

Reports emerging from the area, largely from two long text messages from witnesses, state that on September 29th at around 7pm the young man, aged just 27, self-immolated in the town of Toegey, Dzatoe: Eastern Tibet.

As well as calls for a free Tibet, and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Yungdrung could be heard shouting:

‘Stop the mining in Tibet, and stop religious persecution'. Such messages have been paramount amid the wave of immolations in the region, which has now soared past 50 since 2009, amid a deepening crisis in the region.

The young Tibetan was also heard to have called for the Chinese to return to China, and for the long life of exiled spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

According to reports, which were released in a statement by the Regional Tibetan Youth Congress in Dharamshala, the Tibetan Women's Association, and Students for a Free Tibet; nearby Chinese shop owners attempted to douse the flames by splashing water on Yungdrun. Armed Chinese police were rushed to the scene and grabbed the young man, removing him from public view.

Statements have also emerged that having arrived at hospital, when asked his name Yungdrun replied: ‘Tibet...Tibet...Tibet'. His current location is unknown; however sources from the region state that he has since succumbed to his injuries.

The self-immolation of Yungdrun coincided with a Chinese Communist planned cultural festival that very day. This festival was cancelled in the wake of the protest.

The immolation could also be linked to local resentment and protest against a film by the Chinese authorities who encouraged local Tibetans to be portrayed as happy under Chinese rule. As recently as a week ago, the Chinese were reported to have urged Tibetans in the area to participate in the propaganda film, which focuses on the theme of happiness in Tibet.

An enormous military presence has since arisen in the vicinity of Dzatoe town; restricting the movement of local people and creating an atmosphere of high tension and fear among the community.

The press release from the Tibetan Youth Congress, the Tibetan Women's Association and Students for a Free Tibet in Dharamshala highlighted that the reasons behind the protest were the: ‘Chinese brutal repression in Tibet that is driving Tibetans to self-immolations'.

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