By Tendar Tsering
DHARAMSHALA, February 13: Lobsang Yeshe, a monk from the exile base of Kirti monastery in Dharamshala, who has been closely following and reporting on the wave of self-immolations in Tibet has expressed fear of more self-immolations in Tibet in coming weeks.
In an exclusive interview with Phayul on the sidelines of a candle light vigil held yesterday in the Tibetan exile headquarters, Yeshe said the recent surge in self-immolations have reached a point of “no return.”
Citing sources in Tibet, Yeshe said more Tibetans in Tibet are willing to torch themselves in protest against the Chinese government in coming weeks.
"Even families, parents and relatives of the Tibetans who have self-immolated are neither sad nor they regret those actions. They are proud that one of their own has come out in defiance against the repressive policies of the Chinese government," Yeshe said.
Calling people who discourage self-immolations in Tibet as “irresponsible and senseless,” Yeshe argued that Tibetans in exile don't have the “right or the wisdom” to discourage or encourage self-immolations in Tibet.
"Tibetans in Tibet clearly know what they are doing. They realise that they are sacrificing their lives for the larger struggle and plight of the Tibetan people.”
Lobsang Yeshe and his fellow monk Kanyag Tsering, both from the Kirti monastery in Dharamshala have extensively researched and reported on the fiery wave of self-immolations in Tibet, particularly in the Ngaba region of eastern Tibet where the monks of Kirti monastery have led the resurgence in protests.
"It is high time world leaders and the international community acts to put pressure on China to bring the ongoing critical condition in Tibet to an end," Yeshe said.
“Tibetans in exile have to ensure that the sacrifices in Tibet won't go in vain,” Yeshe added.
In Tibet, 23 Tibetans have set their bodies on fire demanding the return of exiled Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama and protesting China’s continued occupation of Tibet.
Ngaba alone has witnessed 14 instances of self-immolations.
A British reporter who was recently able to sneak into the ‘out of bounds’ Ngaba region said the “road blocks, spot checks and security presence” reminded him of “conflict zones in the Middle East or Northern Ireland."
"On the roof of the world, Chinese paramilitaries are trying to snuff out Tibetan resistance to Beijing's rule with spiked batons, semi-automatic weapons and fire extinguishers," the Guardian reporter said.