110. Kunchok Wangmo

Name: Kunchok Wangmo

Age: 31

Sex: Female

Status: Layperson

Date of Self-immolation: 13 March 2013

Location: Ngaba, Amdo, Northeastern Tibet

Current whereabouts/wellbeing: Deceased

Slogans: Not reported

Kunchok Wangmo, a 31-year-old housewife from Dzoge in Ngaba County, set herself on fire around midnight on 13 March 2013 on the eve of the swearingin ceremony for China’s new President, Xi Jinping. Her body was taken away by security troops immediately after her self-immolation and her cremation was carried out without her family members being informed. Her remains were later handed over to her family. Her husband, Dolma Kyab was subsequently detained in Dzoge after he refused to comply with orders from local Chinese authorities to state that an internal family feud was the reason for Kunchok’s self-immolation. The condition and whereabouts of Dolma Kyab remain unknown. According to Beijing’s state-run Global Times (19 March 2013) Ngaba officials reported that Kunchok Wangmo was “strangled to death by her husband [Dolma Kyab], who later burned her body.” Citing a media official for Ngaba Prefecture, Jiang Zuquan, the report claimed that Kunchok Wangmo was strangled “after a fight escalated between the couple over Drolma Gya’s [Dolma Kyab’s] alcohol addiction.” According to the article, Jiang Zuquan was “certain the case was not a protest against Chinese policy in Tibetan-inhabited areas as reported by Radio Free Asia.” An article published online by China’s official news agency, Xinhua claimed on March 20 that the alleged conflict between Kunchok Wangmo and Dolma Kyab occurred over his supposed “gambling, marital relations and other issues,” in addition to the claim of alcoholism previously reported. Xinhua published details on Dolma Kyab’s detention, reporting that he was being held by “the Zoige County PSB on suspicion of intentional homicide, while the case undergoes further investigation.”(Xinhua, 20 March 2013).

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