Lobsang Lozin in an undated photo. (Photo/Kirti Monastery)
DHARAMSHALA, July 17: A teenage Tibetan monk set himself on fire today in an apparent protest against the Chinese government in the beleaguered region of Ngaba, eastern Tibet.
Lobsang Lozin, 18, set himself on fire at around 12 noon near his monastery’s main prayer hall and began walking towards the local Chinese office in flames before falling down.
“Lobsang Lozin, a monk of the Gyalrong Tsodun Kriti Monastery, set his body on fire near the monastery’s main prayer hall around noon today and walked in the direction of the county’s local office engulfed in flames,” Kanyag Tsering, a monk at the exile base of Kirit Monastery in Dharamshala said. “Lobsang Lozin succumbed to his burns and passed away at the site of his protest.”
Lobsang Lozin was heard shouting many slogans but it is still not clear what these slogans were.
According to the Dharamshala based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, monks at Lobsang Lozin’s monastery took his body inside and are currently holding prayers and rituals for the deceased.
“Lobsang will be cremated later in the evening,” TCHRD said.
The rights group expressed fear of confrontation after local Tibetans blocked a bridge to stop Chinese armed forces from reaching the monastery.
“Following the self-immolation, a large number of security personnel including People’s Armed Police came rushing towards the monastery but were met with strong resistance from the local Tibetans who tried to stop the security personnel at the bridge near the monastery,” TCHRD said. “It is feared that the tense stand-off between the security personnel and local Tibetans might get worse.”
Lobsang Lozin passed away at the site of his self-immolation protest in Barkham, Ngaba region of eastern Tibet, July 17, 2012. (Photo/Kirti Monastery)
Son of Jorgyal and Tsepopo, Lobsang Lozin has been described as an exemplary student with excellent track record in his monastic studies.
The Central Tibetan Administration in a release today said it was “deeply concerned” at the tense situation in the region.
Gyalrong Tsodun Kirti monastery is located some 80 kilometers away in the north of Barkham County town. It is one of the biggest Gelug monasteries in Gyalrong region and has over 300 monks.
On March 30 earlier this year, two monks from the same monastery, Chime Palden (21) and Tenpa Dhargyal (22), set themselves on fire in protest over China’s continued occupation of Tibet.
With today’s incident, 45 Tibetans have set themselves on fire since 2009 demanding freedom in Tibet and the return of the Dalai Lama from exile.