According to sources from inside Tibet, Pema Tsewang, a friend of Lhamo Kyab, who died after setting himself alight near Bora monastery in Sangchu county, Amdho, on October 20, was arrested hours after the incident took place.
Eyewitnesses reported that father of two, Lhamo, who is believed to have been in his late 20s, ran down the road engulfed in flames, shouting for the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet.
His friend’s arrest is the latest reported in what appears to be an intense crackdown by the Chinese authorities on self-immolations and anyone connected with them.
On December 4, the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy released a report stating that friends and family members of self-immolators were being arrested and detained – particularly in areas in which a large number of the 95 fiery protests have taken place.
A day before the report was released, on December 3; five monks are believed to have disappeared after they were arrested at Bora monastery in connection with the self-immolation of 17-year-old Sungdue Kyag, whose whereabouts remain unknown after he was taken away by Chinese security personnel having set himself alight near the monastery the previous day.
On November 2, the Malho People’s Intermediate Court and the Public Security Bureau issued a policy offering cash rewards ranging between 1,000 and 200,000 Chinese Yuan (US$ 160 – 32,000) for information on self-immolations, past or planned, in the Malho area of Amdho, which includes Bora.
The reason for Pema’s arrest, and his whereabouts, remain unknown.