News and Views on Tibet

Husband of murdered Tibetan vlogger sentenced to death

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Social media personality Lhamo (L) and her killer and ex-husband Tang Lu (Photo/Nextshark)

By Tenzin Dharpo

DHARAMSHALA, Oct. 15: The husband of late Tibetan vlogger Lhamo who was murdered last year in a gruesome crime, has been sentenced to death by a court on Thursday. The high profile case that shocked the masses in occupied Tibet and China sparked debates over domestic violence and systemic inadequacies to protect rights of women.

Tang Lu was sentenced to death for intentional homicide by a court in Ngaba Prefecture, in eastern Tibet’s so-called Sichuan province on Oct. 14. His crime “was extremely cruel and the social impact was extremely bad”, the court statement said, adding that it warranted “severe punishment”.

The famous Tibetan vlogger was brutally murdered on Sept. 14 last year. The 30-year-old female social media personality, according to local police, succumbed to her injuries after suffering 90% burn on Sept. 30, two weeks after her ex-husband Tang Lu, doused her body in petrol and set her on fire while she was live streaming. Lhamo divorced Tang who had a history of violence and had repeatedly harmed her physically during the course of their marriage.

Lhamo had more than 85,000 followers on Douyin, the Chinese Tik-Tok substitute and the Twitter-like platform Weibo. She regularly posted videos of her life foraging in the mountains, cooking, and lip-syncing to songs dressed in traditional Tibetan clothing and her people’s way of life.

A makeshift memorial in honour of Lhamo in 2020, who was murdered by her ex-husband. Photo/Weibo

The horrific death of Lhamo, a mother of two, has resonated throughout China, occupied Tibet as well as here in exile. Tenzin Choezin, the Executive Director of Active Non-Violence Education Center (ANEC), an organisation based in Dharamshala told Phayul, “Being part of an organisation that gives ‘Gender-based Violence’ training to the youth, among other things, I feel that people mustn’t switch off their radars now that Lhamo’s murderer is punished. The larger issue still remains, and that’s domestic violence. There are many who continue to suffer in silence in our community. And until the strain of violence continues, the debate must go on, so that both on a policy level and on grass roots level, changes can be made.”

The exile Tibetan government, known officially as the Central Tibetan Administration operates a helpline through the Women Empowerment Desk (WED), a measure that the administration said will help create a “safe space for women in their homes, workplaces and in the community”.  

The international attention over the high profile case led to a frenzy of coverage that, however diluted and even masked the identity of the victim, an ethnic Tibetan who was labelled a Chinese. Dechen Pemba, Founder of High Peaks Pure Earth, earlier told Phayul, “It was disappointing to see the mainstream media coverage of this terrible incident as most headlines firstly sensationalized the horrific tragedy and also erased Lhamo’s Tibetan identity by calling her a “Chinese vlogger”. This isn’t a case of mistaken identity, it’s indicative of a tendency to generically label everyone who lives in China today as Chinese. However, what’s important here is that being Tibetan was at the heart of Lhamo’s live streams and videos. She was very proud of her Tibetan identity and traditions and it was a huge part of what made her popular online.”

One Response

  1. The heinous murder of Lhamo by a Chinese man has once again shown that Chinese have a culture of violence against the weak. There have been similar murders of women by Chinese men in western countries and the men often escape to China from their host countries. The present episode is extremely tragic that he burned her alive to telecast his hatred of her and down right cruelty.
    This goes to show the general attitude of Chinese against Tibetans. Remember the recent report of a Tibetan man pushed into the river just for protesting his innocence after secret Chinese police confiscated his phone and drowned!!! The callousness of Chinese towards Tibetans is shocking to say the least. The CCP has racially vilified the Tibetan people for over seventy years and heaped racial abuse against Tibetans as back ward, dark and savage. Most Chinese look to Tibetans as uncultured and dirty owing to their chauvinism. Lhamo was a victim of Chinese chauvinism that was encouraged by the CCP as a pretext to invade and occupy Tibet.
    The remedy to this kind of shocking treatment of Tibetan women is, Tibetan women must not marry people from other cultures especially Chinese. The CCP is deliberately encouraging inter-marriage between Chinese and Tibetans to dilute the Tibetan population. It is their attempt to to homogenise the Tibetans into Chinese nationality. The destruction of Tibetan identity including language, religion and culture are all driven by the motivation to destroy Tibetans as a distinct race that is separate from the Chinese.
    While, Tibetans inside occupied Tibet have little choice but oblige to the dictates of the CCP, Tibetans living outside in free countries must resist marrying foreign men or foreign women. This is not racism as might be tempted to be interpreted by some foolhardy Tibetans or foreigners. If our race was not threatened with extinction, such pronouncements may be labelled as such but the fact of the matter is, Tibetans are facing extinction at the hands of the CCP criminal syndicate. The Dalai Lama has said umpteen times that China is committing genocide in Tibet! In fact, China is committing holocaust in Tibet. The very identity of the Tibetan people is wiped off the face of Tibet and Tibet is inoxeranly sucked into the vortex of the Han Chinese melting pot! The Chinese are not even acknowledging Tibetans in Tibet and instead uses words like “many nationalities that live in Tibet” thus expunging the word Tibetan. When they talk about the Panchen Gedun Choekyi Nyima, they use words like “he is living like any Chinese child” etc. All these goes to show that the CCP wants to erase the very existence of Tibetans as a people from the face of the earth. This includes the word TIBET by using the Chinese name in their press conferences.
    Therefore, just as the Jews survived as a people by keeping their race without marrying outside their nationality, Tibetans must stop marrying foreign spouses. It will help preserve our race, our religion and culture by bequeathing it to their children. If one is married to a foreign spouse, they cannot converse in Tibetan becuase the partner in most cases will not be able to understand Tibetan and when the parents speak no Tibetan in the family, how can the children learn to speak Tibetan?
    Tibetans are generally more kind than other people because of our religious up bringing in showing compassion to others. That is why, a Tibetan spouse would be generally less cruel than that of other nationalities. This is by no means a blanket assessment but by and large Tibetans are a more compassionate people.We have domestic violence amidst our own community and this must be exposed and our girls and women must be protected by a decree of a law enacted by the parliament. It is completely unacceptable to commit violence against ones own spouse in this day and age. Forget world peace before there is peace in the family.
    There are hundreds or even thousands of Tibetans who are married to foreigners today and Lhamo’s story is just the tip of the ice berg. Many poor girls from rural Tibet have been kidnapped and married to Hua Muslims as sexual slaves. This was told to me by a Tibetan student studying in a western country. Therefore, we must now change the attitude of love is blind and stop marrying foreigners. This applies to both male and female Tibetans.
    Those who have married and live with foreign spouses, 99.99% of children don’t have an inkling of Tibetan culture or language. Even Tibetan parents have difficulty in inculcating the Tibetan values and language skills to their children since children spent most of their time at school with other foreign children. When they come home, they speak the language they speak with their friends at school and have no patience with the language their parents or grand parents speak at home. If this trend continues, not only Tibetans in occupied Tibet will be submerged under the sea of Chinese assimilation juggernaut but Tibetans living in the free world will be stripped of their identity and culture by their indifference and self-indulgence.

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