Tibetan self-immolator Lobsang Thokmey.
DHARAMSHALA, March 16: A Tibetan monk in Ngaba region of eastern Tibet has become the 108th Tibetan living under China’s rule to self-immolate, marking five years since the 2008 peaceful protests in the region.
Lobsang Thokmey, 28, a monk at the Kirti Monastety set himself on fire today at around 2:40 pm (local time). He passed away in his protest.
According to the Dharamshala based Kirti Monastery, Lobsang Thokmey doused his body with kerosene in front of his monastic quarters in the west of the Kirti Monastery and started running towards the east.
“Lobsang Thokmey was in flames as he began running with the Buddhist flag in his hands,” the Kirti Monastery said in a release. “Before he could reach the main gate, he fell on the ground.”
Monks and people gathered at the scene of the protest carried Lobsang Thokmey to the local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.
“A large number of Chinese security personnel arrived at the hospital soon after Lobsang Thokmey was admitted and later forcibly took away the deceased’s body to the regional headquarters of Barkham,” the same source said.
It is not yet known what slogans Lobsang Thokmey raised during his self-immolation protest.
He is survived by his parents Rogtrug and Depo and one sister and three brothers.
Lobsang Thokmey became a monk at the Kirti Monastery at a young age and was currently enrolled in the pharchin class.
“His conduct was excellent and he was very diligent in his studies,” the Kirti Monastery recalled contacts as saying.
On March 16, 2008, around 28 Tibetans were shot dead on a single day by Chinese security forces during the peaceful protest in Ngaba as part of the wider uprisings that engulfed the entire Tibetan plateau.
On the third anniversary of the 2008 killings, Kirti monk Lobsang Phuntsok
set himself on fire at a busy market place in Ngaba on March 16, 2011, triggering in earnest the continuing wave of self-immolations.
A year later on March 16, 2012, another Kirti monk Lobsang Tsultrim
torched his body, marking the anniversary of the March 16 killings and protests in the Ngaba region.
Since Kirti monk Tabey’s self-immolation protest in 2009, as many as 108 Tibetans living under China’s rule have set themselves on fire protesting China’s occupation and demanding freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama from exile.
The exile Tibetan administration earlier called the unprecedented number of self-immolations “ultimate acts of civil disobedience against China’s failed rule in Tibet.”
“Concrete steps that the leaders of the world need to take immediately are to send Ms Navi Pillay of UNHCR on a visit to Tibet and investigate the real causes of self immolations, and convene a meeting to discuss and address the crisis in Tibet,” Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay, the elected head of the Tibetan people said last month.