Monk kills self in Ragya, residents protest

Dharamsala, March 21 – A Tibetan monk of Amdo Golok Ragya monastery in Gyulgho township (Ch: Lajong), Machen county, Qinghai, committed suicide by jumping into Machu river today around 3.30 PM (Beijing time), a source residing here with contacts in Tibet told the Voice of Tibet radio service.

The monk was identified as Tashi Sangpo, aged 28, the source said.

Machu river, into which Tashi Sangpo threw himself earlier today. The Ragya monastery is seen in the background, March 21, 2009/photo/
The monastery has remained sealed and been under constant patrol of Chinese forces since March 10 this year when leaflets containing political messages were circulated and a huge Tibetan national flag hoisted atop the main prayer hall of the monastery. Several monks of the monastery were detained in the monastery which has since been completely locked down. Security forces claimed to have found a Tibetan national flag and political leaflets from Tashi’s room, the source said.

Tashi Sangpo sneaked out of the security forces’ sight by seeking to go to the toilet, according to the source, a former resident of Ragya, who said Machu River is not very far from the monastery.

At the time of this report going online, Tashi’s death has already sparked a strong anti China protest in Ragya where Tibetans are taking to the streets with the banned Tibetan national flag and banners, chanting slogans such as “independence for Tibet, long live Dalai Lama.”

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