The wife of a Tibetan man who burned himself to death in protest against Chinese rule has rejected an offer by the Chinese authorities to blame the self-immolation on a family quarrel in return for cash, saying they had a "very good" relationship, according to sources.
Sangay Gyatso, a 27-year-old father of two, self-immolated on Oct. 6 in a monastery compound in Tsoe (in Chinese, Hezuo) county, the administrative center of Gansu province’s Kanlho (Gannan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, without telling his wife of his plans.
Following his death, his wife Dorjee Kyi was visited by Chinese officials who urged her to sign a document saying her husband had killed himself because of a family dispute, and not in a protest against Chinese rule, one source told RFA’s Tibetan service.
“They offered her 1 million yuan [U.S. $158,599] to agree to sign, but she refused,” the source said. "Furthermore, the family said that all family members were surviving under his efforts and he was decent and a loving husband and father."
The financial offer claim could not be independently verified.
On the eve of the self-immolation, Sangay Gyatso had a quiet dinner with his wife and talked with her about family matters late into the night, the source said.
“His wife said that they had a very good relationship with no disputes of any kind,” said the source, a resident of the area, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“She never expected that her husband would end his life in that way.”
“On the night of Oct. 5, Sangay Gyatso had dinner with his wife, Dorjee Kyi. Both during supper and afterward, they spoke for a long time on general family matters,” the source said.
“And though the night became very late, and his wife suggested that he go to bed, he continued with their conversation until midnight.”
Early next morning, Sangay Gyatso asked his wife for his chuba, a traditional Tibetan form of dress, and left the house carrying an empty container, saying that he wanted to go to help a friend whose car had broken down.
“At around noon on Oct. 6, he set himself ablaze near the stupa at Dokar monastery, at a distance of about 10 miles (16 kilometers) from Tsoe town, in a protest against Chinese policies in Tibet,” the source said.
Chinese authorities detained four monks this week, three of whom were from the Dokar monastery, "for their involvement in taking care of the body of the self-immolator and taking photos of the body," according to another source.
Fifty-five Tibetans have self-immolated to protest Chinese rule and call for the return of the Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader who is living in exile in India, despite appeals by Tibetan groups in exile to end the burning protests.
The latest self-immolation occurred on Oct. 13 when Tamdin Dorjee, the 54-year-old grandfather of a local religious leader, burned himself to death in Tsoe monastery in Tsoe county.
Reported by RFA's Tibetan service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.