Dharamshala — Sources from Tibet confirmed that a Tibetan father of three, named Tashi Rabten died after setting himself on fire, saying he called for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the release of Panchen Gendün Chökyi Nyima, as he set himself on fire.
'Tashi Rabten, 33, set himself ablaze on December 08 in the street of Machu County in Gansu Province (traditionally in Tibet's Amdo Province),' a local source told the Tibet Post International (TPI).
"Rabten was protesting against Chinese policies in Tibet," TPI's sources said, adding, "His charred body was taken away by Chinese police."
"He shouted slogans such as "Long life His Holiness the Dalai Lama", "The return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama return to Tibet," and "The release of Panchen Lama Gendun Chokyi Nyima," sources told TPI, speaking on condition of anonymity.
"Rabten's cousin Tsering Kyi, a 20-year old Tibetan girl who also died after setting herself on fire, to protest against the Chinese rule in Tibet, on March 03, 2012," the sources said, adding: "Both Tashi and Tsering’s fathers are brothers".
Rabten becomes the 145th Tibetan to self-immolate in protest of Chinese's policies in Tibet since 2009, fourth to do so this year and the third in Machu County.
His charred remains were taken by the Chinese police officers on Thursday. On the next day, his family members approached the Chinese authorities to demand the return of Rabten's body. In response, the Chinese authorities have detained family members, including his wife and 15-year old daughter.
Although he died in the act, Chinese authorities ordered his family members “to say he had selfimmolated because of family problems." But, the sources said that "Rabten also left a letter behind detailing his reasons for self-immolation protest."
Rabten is a native of Dragtho Ruchen Teushe Village, Trokho Meyma Township, Machu County, north-eastern Tibet.
Most of the Tibetan self-immolators have called for freedom for Tibet and Tibetan people and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet.
In Tibet today, Tibetans are being arbitrarily arrested, imprisoned and tortured for merely expressing their suffering under Chinese rule and ordinary exercise of the freedom of expression and opinion guaranteed by the Chinese Constitutions and other International Conventions to which China is a state party.
Tibet was invaded by Communist China in 1949. Since that time, over 1.2 million out of 6 million Tibetans have been killed, over 6000 monasteries have been destroyed and acts of murder, rape, arbitrary imprisonment, torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment were inflicted on the Tibetans inside Tibet. Beijing continues to call this a "peaceful liberation".