By Sherab Woeser
Kesang Wangchuk seen here in a file photo.
DHARAMSHALA, October 4: Kesang Wangchuk, a young monk from Kirti Monastery, eastern Tibet has become the latest victim of Chinese atrocities in Tibet.
The exile base of Kirti Monastery in Dharamshala, in a release today, confirmed earlier reports of Kesang Wangchuk’s self immolation and the appearance of leaflets around the Kirti Monastery in eastern Tibet warning of more sacrifices.
Describing the unfolding of events, the release said that on October 3 at around 2 pm local time, Kesang Wangchuk walked out onto the main street of Ngaba town holding a photo of the Dalai Lama and shouting slogans protesting Chinese rule over Tibet. Kesang Wangchuk then set himself ablaze.
“He was immediately surrounded by Chinese soldiers, who extinguished the flames, beat him severely and took him away, so that the extent of his injuries cannot be known,” the statement said.
Following the incident, Tibetans at the scene reportedly began an impromptu protest and started shouting slogans but were quickly dispersed by armed Chinese security personnel.
“The military presence in the town and at Kirti monastery was intensified, as if in a war situation, and the movement of all traffic severely restricted,” the release said.
According to Lobsang Yeshe, a monk who has closely followed the recent situation in Ngaba, Kesang Wangchuk’s self immolation came a few days after leaflets appeared around Ngaba town and the Kirti monastery complex stating that “if the present situation continued, many more people were prepared to give their lives in protest.”
This is the fifth incidence in this year alone when China’s repressive policies in Tibet have forced Tibetans to take the drastic step of self-immolation as a non-violent mean to protest China’s rule over Tibet.
On September 26, two monks from the under siege Kirti Monastery, Lobsang Kalsang, younger brother of monk Lobsang Phuntsog who died in March this year after setting himself ablaze protesting China’s occupation of Tibet and Lobsang Kunchok, both around 18 years of age set themselves on fire in an anti-China protest in the central town of Ngaba. Their whereabouts and condition are not yet known.
The recent spate of self immolations has drawn loud calls for greater activism within the Tibetan exile community and condemnation of Chinese policies by governments and world leaders.
“These precious sacrifices inside Tibet is a wakeup call for Tibetans outside to rise up and to the world leaders to support the just cause of the Tibetan people not just in words but in deeds,” Tsewang Rigzin, president of the largest pro-independence organisation in exile Tibetan Youth Congress said in a message.
Speaking to Phayul, Lobsang Yeshi, a teacher based in Bylakuppe, south India, noted that the self immolation of five monks in the past six months alone “shows not only the level of suffering and desperation of Tibetans, but also the extreme actions they are willing to take to draw the world’s attention to the situation in Tibet.”