Tibetan self-immolator Tsering Tashi in an undated photo.
DHARAMSHALA, January 14: Tibetan self-immolator Tsering Tashi’s body was forcibly cremated late Sunday night near his home town in Amchok after repeated threats and mounting pressure from local Chinese authorities.
22-year-old Tsering Tashi passed away in his self-immolation protest on January 12 in Amchok town in Sangchu region of eastern Tibet. According to eyewitnesses, he shouted “Gyalwang Tenzin Gyatso” as he marched on the street engulfed in flames before succumbing to his injuries. Although Chinese security personnel arrived at the scene but local Tibetans were able to rescue his body following a minor scuffle.
Tsering Tashi’s body was then carried to his home in Kyi village of Amchok where monks and nearby Tibetans gathered to pay their last respects and offer prayers despite strict governmental orders against show of sympathy with self-immolators or their families.
According to a close relative of the deceased, local Chinese police and Public Security Bureau officials soon arrived in several vehicles and surrounded the entire area. The officials barred the monks of Amchok Monastery and local Tibetans from offering prayers and ordered the deceased’s family members to cremate the body as soon as possible.
However, when the family members refused to cremate the body before performing the customary Tibetan rituals, the Chinese authorities threatened them saying that they will be responsible for all the consequences and sent for a local Tibetan lama who also advised them to follow the orders.
The local Public Security Bureau head further blamed Tsering Tashi’s family members of having “close ties with the splittist Dalai group” and banged his fist on the table.
According to the same source, the deceased’s father Dugkar Kyab, agreed to cremate his only son’s body considering the imminent threat to the livelihood and security of the people of the village.
Tsering Tashi’s body was cremated late Sunday night, January 13, when most people were fast asleep. Chinese authorities allowed only a few people to attend the cremation.
The deceased’s mother Tsering Dolma, when she heard of the orders by the Chinese authorities, she fainted and had to be rushed to the hospital.
Tsering Tashi is survived by his parents and wife Yumtso Kyi.
On the day of his self-immolation protest Tsering Tashi wore full Tibetan traditional attire and had wound his body with wire before setting himself on fire.
Local Tibetans have described him as “good natured and polite,” who had a keen passion for horses and horse racing.
Since 2009, as many as 96 known Tibetans have set themselves on fire protesting China’s rule and demanding freedom and the return of Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile.