By Tenzin Monlam
Tibetan President Dr. Lobsang Sangay during the prayer service for Koenpe, latest Tibetan self-immolator, at Tsuglagkhang on December 27, 2017. Phayul photo
DHARAMSHALA, December 27: Tibetan Central Administration (CTA) today organized a prayer service to mourn and pay respect to the latest self-immolator, Koenpe from Ngaba County, at Tsuglagkhang attended by CTA dignitaries, staff members, and general public.
Thupten Chomphel, former Tantric Master of Namgyal Monastery, led the prayer service where President of CTA (Sikyong) Dr. Lobsang Sangay urged Tibetans to pray for all the self-immolators and political prisoners. “I urge you to pray for Koenpe and his family. Along with him, I urge you to pray for all those 150 Tibetans who have self-immolated and all the former political prisoners and those who are still incarcerated in Tibet,” said the Tibetan President.
A video circulating on social media sites showed Koenpe engulfed in flames moving through the infamous ‘martyr’s lane’ in the restive Ngaba town where many Tibetans have self immolated since 2009. The video was most likely taken from inside a vehicle with a mobile phone. The incident was reported to have taken place around 6:30 pm local time on December 23.
He reportedly passed away a day later on December 24 following his fiery act against the Chinese rule in Tibet.
Soon after the incident, Chinese police arrived at the scene and took away the Tibetan youth, sources said. The police drove him to Barkham County where he died around 5 am on December 24. Koenpe's family was summoned to Barkham to collect his remains. However, his father was arrested by the police who said they had to incur a few thousand Yuan for his son's treatment.
His parents, father Gyakyap and mother Thindok, along with his two brothers and three sisters, live in Cha village of Chuleb Gongma. Koenpe lived in division 2 of Meruma township as he was married to Rawangtsang family's Kalsang Lhamo of Meruma Township.
“Despite repeated appeals from the CTA, at least 151 Tibetans have set themselves on fire inside Tibet since 2009. The Chinese government should realize that the cause as well as the solution to this wave of fiery protests lie with the Chinese government itself,” Sikyong Sangay said.
A month earlier, Tengha reportedly self immolated in Kardze County in eastern Tibet’s Kham region on November 26. The elderly monk died immediately after setting himself ablaze against Chinese rule in Tibet.