By Phuntsok Yangchen
CTA prayer service for Tibetan self-immolator Tenzin Sherab at the Tsug-la Khang in Dharamshala on June 5, 2013. (Phayul photo/Phuntsok Yangchen)
DHARAMSHALA, June 5: A mass prayer service was held in the exile Tibetan headquarters of Dharamshala today in honour of Tenzin Sherab, who set himself ablaze in protest against China’s continued occupation of Tibet on May 27.
The prayer service at the Tsug-la Khang, the main temple, was organised by the Department of Religion and Culture of the Central Tibetan Administration.
Thousands of Tibetans and supporters, including the Tibetan Chief Justice Commissioners, Speaker Penpa Tsering, Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay, Kalons, Tibetan parliamentarians and school students attended the prayer service.
Tenzin Sherab, 31, carried out his self-immolation protest in Chumar Leb region of Kham Yushul, eastern Tibet. He succumbed to his injuries at the protest site. Tenzin Sherab’s family members and friends came to know about his self-immolation protest only after he had passed away.
Soon after the protest, Chinese security personnel from Chumar arrived at the site and confiscated Tenzin Sherab’s body, however, the next day, on May 28, his body was handed over to his family members.
In the days preceding his self-immolation protest, Tenzin Sherab had spoken to his friends about the “evil policies” of the Chinese government and expressed his concern about “Tibetan religion and culture reaching a point of annihilation.”
“We can no longer bear to live under China’s constant torture and repression,” Tenzin Sherab had reportedly told his friends.
Tenzin Sherab is the son of Dhondup and Choemey and is the eldest among five siblings.
The deepening crisis inside Tibet has witnessed large scale anti-China protests and a series of self-immolations that has now seen 118 Tibetans set themselves on fire, since 2009, demanding freedom and return of the Dalai Lama from exile.
Addressing the prayer service, Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay provided a brief overview of his work over the past 12 months.
The democratically elected leader of the Tibetan people also expressed his hope for the resolution of the Tibet issue through dialogue with the People’s Republic of China on the basis of the Middle Way Approach.