By Tendar Tsering
Acting Kalon Tripa Dr Tsering Wangchuk (File photo)
DHARAMSHALA, July 13: The exile Tibetan leadership warned China that the ongoing wave of self-immolations inside Tibet will not abate unless Beijing ends its repressive policies inside Tibet and addressed the genuine grievances of the Tibetan people .
“Leaders in Beijing must understand that self-immolations will not stop unless China ends its repressive policies inside Tibet,” acting Kalon Tripa Dr Tsering Wangchuk said today.
The Tibetan Health Minister was speaking at a mass prayer session held in honour of Tsewang Dorjee, a 22-year-old nomad, who set himself on fire on July 7 in the main market of Damshung, about 160 kms from capital Lhasa, in an apparent protest against China’s continued occupation of Tibet.
The Central Tibetan Administration earlier said that Tsewang Dorjee shouted slogans for the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama before Chinese security forces put out the flame and bundled him away.
Tsewang Dorjee passed away after suffering 90 percent burn, CTA said in a release.
“We mourn for the loss of lives of Tsewang Dorjee and Dhargey, 25, who set himself on fire in a twin self-immolation protest in Lhasa on May 27,” Kalon Wangchuk said. “We pray for the departed souls and pay our condolences to their family members.”
The prayer service, organised by the Department of Religion and Culture, CTA was led by H.E. Kirti Rinpoche. Members of the Tibetan administration along with hundreds of Tibetans and foreigners attended the mass service at the Tsug-la Khang, the main temple.
The Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, following Tsewang Dorjee’s self-immolation protest, said that the entire Damshung region is reeling under a heavy security lockdown and people who witnessed the self-immolation protest have been arrested.
“The Chinese authorities in the region have arrested all the people who witnessed Tsewang Dorjee’s self-immolation protest and have passed strict orders barring anyone from speaking about the protest,” the Tibetan Parliament said.
Since 2009, 43 Tibetans set themselves on fire demanding freedom in Tibet and return of the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama from exile.
With Tsewang Dorjee’s death, 34 Tibetans have now passed away in their self-immolation protests. Six Tibetans have sustained serious injuries and are reportedly in critical conditions while the well-being and whereabouts of four Tibetan self-immolators still remain unknown.