By Tendar Tsering
DHARAMSHALA September 29: The self-immolation of two Kirti monks, Lobsang Kalsang and Lobsang Kunchok has stirred up international support and led to widespread protests by Tibetans in exile.
The United States in a statement Monday called on China to respect human rights in Tibet and allow an independent fact-finding mission to the troubled region of Ngaba, eastern Tibet.
The State Department urged China to allow a fact-finding committee of journalists and diplomats to observe the real situation in the region of Ngaba county where a string of protests and self-immolations have occurred in recent months.
The US said that it was “seriously concerned about the self-immolation in an apparent call for religious freedom in Tibet” and called on Beijing "to address policies in Tibetan areas that have created tension, and to protect Tibetans' unique religious, cultural and linguistic identity."
"In light of the continuing underlying grievances of China's Tibetan population, we again urge Chinese leaders to respect the rights of Tibetans," said the US State Department.
Echoing similar calls for greater support for the protests being carried out by Tibetans inside Tibet, Ms Kristina Ojuland, an Estonian MEP from the third largest political group in the European Parliament raised the issue of self-immolation of the two teen-aged Tibetan monks in the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Monday and urged the parliament to address the situation of human rights in Tibet more “rigorously” with the Peoples' Republic of China.
“Such radical form of protest illustrates the despair of the Tibetans, who are seeking freedom of religion as well as meaningful autonomy in the historic area of Tibet. Continuous desperate acts of protest also demonstrate that the Tibetans determinedly resist the ongoing violations of human rights and the cultural genocide that is being carried out in Tibet," she said.
In India, a group of Tibetan college students held a cycle rally in Delhi under the aegis of Regional Tibetan Youth Congress, Rohini (RTYC) to “draw attention to the growing desperation of the Tibetans inside Tibet.”
The nine boys and two girls – with their bodies painted in red – rallied from Delhi University to Jantar Mantar to commemorate twenty years of the September 27, 1987 mass uprising in Lhasa.
Palden Sonam, the president of Rohini RTYC told the press that the red colour paint symbolises the ongoing bloodshed in Tibet.
"Tibetans in Tibet are targeted, tormented, tortured and then killed with unexplainable cruelty and we cannot neglect that, the world cannot neglect Tibet," said Palden.
In south India, Tibetan college students in and around Bangalore city held a candle light vigil on Monday night to show solidarity and support for the two monks.
Although the Chinese official news agency, Xinhua, has reported that both the monks have survived their immolation bid and are currently in hospital, Tibetan rights groups in exile, quoting contacts in Tibet, have confirmed the death of one of the monks while describing the other as being in critical condition.