Thubwang Kyab in an undated photo.
DHARAMSHALA, November 1: In an overwhelming show of support and solidarity, thousands of Tibetans attended the funeral of Tibetan self-immolator Thubwang Kyab Wednesday morning in his native town of Labrang Sangkho in Sangchu, eastern Tibet.
Speaking to Phayul, Gendun Phuntsok, an exile Tibetan monk living in south India, said that tens of thousands of Tibetans from around the region gathered to pay their last respects to Thubwang Kyab.
“Tens of thousands of Tibetans attended the funeral of martyr Thubwang Kyab in his native hometown,” Phuntsok said citing sources inside the region. “Even though Chinese armed forces were present, but they failed to reach near the deceased’s body due to the overwhelming presence of Tibetans.”
Thubwang Kyab, 23, (Tsewang Kyab in earlier reports) set himself ablaze on the main street of Sangkog town in Sangchu on October 26 in an apparent protest against China’s continued occupation of Tibet.
Thubwang Kyab passed away at the scene of his protest following which Tibetans present there encircled him to prevent Chinese security personnel from taking away his body, and then carried the body back to his home in Sertri village.
Earlier that day, another Tibetan, Lhamo Tseten, 24, self-immolated in front of the local military base and township administration in Amchok in the same Sangchu region.
Father of a two-year-old daughter, Lhamo Tseten passed away at the site of his protest and his body was later taken to his home village. According to reports, Lhamo Tseten was cremated on Tuesday.
In a release this week, the Dharamshala based Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile reiterated its “deep concern” over the spate of self-immolations in Tibet, which has now witnessed 62 Tibetans set themselves on fire demanding the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and freedom in Tibet.
The Tibetan Parliament warned the situation would “aggravate” if the Chinese leadership failed to address the underlying causes of the crisis.
The Tibetan lawmakers said the Chinese government’s hardline policies in Tibet and the levelling of “baseless allegations” against His Holiness the Dalai Lama will only “exacerbate resentment” among the Tibetan people.
“We again strongly urge the Chinese leadership to address the underlying causes of the tragic self-immolations in Tibet,” the release said, while noting that the self-immolation protests are the highest form of non-violent campaign.