The self-immolation of a young man in Tibet in 2015 has reportedly come to light after the Chinese government successfully kept it hidden for more than five years.
According to the Central Tibetan Administration, 26-year-old Shurmo died after lighting his body on fire around 1 pm on Sept. 17, 2015.
His self-immolation occurred near a bus station in his native Shagchukha village in Nagchu county in Nagchu prefecture of the Tibet Autonomous Region.
The region spans about half of Tibet, a historically independent country that China annexed more than 60 years ago and continues to rule with an iron fist.
Protesting China’s repression
According to the CTA—which provides democratic representation for Tibetans in exile—Shurmo was protesting China’s repression in his homeland, which a US watchdog group describes as the second-least-free place on Earth.
Authorities in the region arrested Shurmo and took him to a hospital, where he died later that day.
Police also arrested three of Shurmo’s relatives. It is unknown whether the three are still in detention or have been sentenced or released, the CTA said.
More than 155 self-immolations
Since 2009, more than 155 Tibetans have self-immolated in Tibet and China in a desperate attempt to draw attention to their people’s suffering.
But rather than respond to these Tibetans’ concerns, China has cracked down on self-immolators, in part by arresting their friends and families.
China has also tried to avoid criticism by preventing news about self-immolations from reaching the outside world or spreading inside Tibet.