Two Young Tibetans Self-immolate

They leave behind a suicide note, saying they cannot make a significant contribution to Tibetan society under Chinese rule.
2012-06-20
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Two Tibetans (hidden) self-immolating in Dzatoe township in Qinghai, June 20, 2012.
Photo courtesy of Lobsang Sangay.

UPDATED at 3:10 p.m. EST on 2012-06-20

Two young Tibetans self-immolated in China's Qinghai province on Wednesday as they protested against Beijing's rule in Tibetan-populated areas and called for the return of Tibet's exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, sources said.

Carrying Tibetan flags and shouting pro-independence slogans, former monk Tenzin Khedup, 24, and Ngawang Norphel, 22, torched themselves in Dzatoe (in Chinese, Zaduo) township, Tridu (Chenduo) county, in the Yulshul (Yushu) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, the exile sources said.

Tenzin Khedup died on the spot while his colleague, Ngawang Norphel  was badly burned and is in serious condition at a hospital,  according to Lobsang Sangay, a monk in India who is from the Zekar monastery in Yushul, quoting eyewitnesses.

"They called for freedom for Tibet, the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet and for his long life. Both of them were carrying Tibetan flags in their hands at the time of the self-immolation," he said.

The two also left behind a suicide note saying they were unable to make a significant contribution to fellow Tibetans based on the conditions prevailing under Chinese rule, Sangay said.

"We could not contribute significantly towards the Tibetan religion and culture and we could not [help bring about] economic benefits to Tibetans," the note read, according to Sangay.

"Therefore, we have decided to self-immolate with the hope that His Holiness the Dalai Lama may live long and return to Tibet as soon as possible. For the cause of Tibetans, we chose to die for these reasons.

"We also want to appeal to our fellow youth that they should not quarrel among themselves and they should not have any ill feelings against each other. Everyone should unite to uphold the cause of the Tibetan race and nationality."

The body of Tenzin Khedup has been taken away by monks, who are conducting funeral prayers for him at the Zekar monastery, the sources said.

Forty-one self-immolations

The latest self-immolations bring to 41 the number of Tibetans who have burned themselves in protest against Chinese rule and to demand the return of the Dalai Lama since the raging protests began in February 2009.

Nearly all the self-immolations so far have taken place in the Tibetan-populated provinces in western China—Sichuan, Qinghai, and Gansu—as Tibetans challenge Chinese policies which they say are discriminatory and have robbed them of their rights.

The first self-immolation incident in Tibet's capital Lhasa was reported last month when two young Tibetan men burned themselves in the heavily guarded city, suggesting that the protest movement to restore Tibetan rights is gaining momentum internally.

The Dalai Lama has blamed Beijing's "totalitarian" and "unrealistic" policies for the wave of self-immolations, saying the time has come for the Chinese authorities to take a serious approach to resolving the Tibetan problem.

Chinese authorities however have labeled the self-immolators as terrorists, outcasts, criminals, and mentally ill people, and have blamed the Dalai Lama for encouraging the burnings.

Reported by Rigdhen Dolma for RFA's Tibetan service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Parameswaran Ponnudurai.

Comments (6)
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john wyndham

from eastbourne uk

What can one say other than Om Mani Peme Hung Hri for all sentient beings without exception.

Jun 23, 2012 04:19 PM

Om ManiPadme Hung

The people of Tibet must unite in prayers of compassion towards those who oppress them and especially towards the Chinese leaders. Only once the hearts of the Tibetan people are united and filled with compassion can there be any change in the hearts of the Chinese leaders and their policies towards Tibet and the Tibetan people.

What makes Tibet and the Tibetan people great is Great Compassion. The real victory is the victory of compassion! ལྷ་རྒྱལ་ལོ།
Om Mani Padme Hung Hri

Jun 22, 2012 12:46 AM

Monkey

from BNE

Anonymous Reader doesn't have the courage to admit membership of 五毛党. Freedom for Tibet now!

Jun 21, 2012 07:08 AM

Silentobserver

Finally the truth is unveiling, Tibetans want their country and freedom back and what an excruciating cry for help it is.

Jun 20, 2012 08:03 PM

Eagle Master

from Pa(USA)

It's wrong time body,look at Combodia we spent almost two million life to let country afloating because Mr:PolPot had a far sight that West,USA will has confront with China,As above all,no one dare to help you because Eagle is blind and deafs.

Jun 20, 2012 04:04 PM

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