By Phuntsok Yangchen
Tibetans releasing balloons carrying pictures of Tibetan self-immolators in Dharamshala on November 6, 2012, coinciding with Lha Bab Düchen. (Phayul photo/Phuntsok Yangchen)
DHARAMSHALA, November 6: Activists in the Tibetan exile headquarters of Dharamshala today released balloons attached with pictures of Tibetan self-immolators, coinciding with the Tibetan Buddhist holy day of Lha Bab Düchen.
The day, which falls on the 22nd day of the ninth month of the Tibetan lunar calendar, marks the anniversary of the Buddha Shakyamuni’s descent from the heavenly realm to the earth.
Buddha ascended the Heaven of Thirty-Three Trayastrimsa to teach the gods in the desire realms and to repay the kindness of his mother. This is considered to be one of the great deeds of the Buddha and the day is part of the Buddhist tradition to engage in virtuous activities and prayers.
Activists of the regional chapter of the Tibetan Youth Congress, the largest pro-independence group in exile, released hundreds of balloons carrying pictures of the 63 Tibetan self-immolators in Tibet and three self-immolators in exile.
Tenzin Tsundue, activist and member of RTYC Dharamshala said that for Tibetans the self-immolators “are not just heroes but saints.”
“It is our idea to express our tributes to the self-immolators who we believe have truly liberated themselves and found liberation,” Tsundue said. “They have set an example for us, who are still, from a very Buddhist perspective, continuing to live with common desires of human beings.”
“Our Tibetan martyrs have achieved true liberation.”
Tibetan artist and a father of two, Dorjee Lhundup, 25, is the latest Tibetan to set himself on fire protesting China’s continued occupation of Tibet. He passed away in his fiery protest on November 4 in Rongwo town, Rebkong in eastern Tibet.
Dorjee Lhundup called for freedom in Tibet and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile, while engulfed in flames.
The deepening crisis inside Tibet has witnessed large scale anti-China protests and a series of self-immolations that has now seen 63 Tibetans set themselves on fire, since 2009, demanding freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama from exile.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay last week urged China to “promptly address the longstanding grievances that have led to an alarming escalation in desperate forms of protest, including self-immolations, in Tibetan areas.”
Pillay said she was disturbed by "continuing allegations of violence against Tibetans seeking to exercise their fundamental human rights," and urged China to allow independent and impartial monitors to visit and assess the actual conditions on the ground, and to lift restrictions on media access to the region, as a confidence-building measure.