Authorities say reported 109th Tibetan self-immolation was homicide, suspect arrested

On Monday, Free Tibet reported that a 28-year-old woman, Lobsang Thogmey, set herself on fire on March 13 in Aba Prefecture in Sichuan province. It noted: “Her husband, Dolma Kyab, 31, was later given ashes and told she had died and been cremated by the authorities.”

Dolma Kyab was ordered by authorities to say his wife had set herself alight due to family problems. He refused and was detained by Public Security Bureau personnel. He is currently still in detention. The couple has an eight-year-old daughter.

The story was picked up by the New York Times.

Today, authorities have issued their side of the story. According to Global Times:

Officials in the ethnically-Tibetan prefecture of Aba, Sichuan Province told the Global Times Tuesday that the charred remains of a woman discovered on March 12 in Aba’s Ruoergai county was the result of a homicide, dismissing earlier media reports of self-immolation.

The husband is indeed in custody, but not for refusing to heed the PSB’s advice.

Local police said 28-year-old Guangqiu Ome (name transcribed from Chinese report) was strangled to death by her husband, who later burned her body on the morning of March 12. The husband, 32-year old Drolma Gya, is now in police custody.

Both the NY Times and Global Times mention a separate incident: 27-year-old Lobsang Thogmey set himself on fire on Saturday, becoming the 108th Tibetan to self-immolate.

The question remains, however: have we seen No. 109?

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