By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, Mar. 7: Tibetans in Dharamshala, considered the de-facto capital of the exile Tibetan setup mourned the death of the latest self immolator in Tibet who reportedly died after he shouted slogans and burned himself in front of the Potala palace in Lhasa city on February 25.
Five prominent Tibetan NGOs led the procession participated by many local Tibetans across the main square of McLeod Ganj town carrying candles and portraits of Tsewang Norbu, 25, who reportedly died after he was taken away by Chinese police following his attempt to self immolate in front of the Potala palace last month.
Multiple sources including news outlet reported the incident; Radio Free Asia confirmed that the Tibetan youth has died citing an anonymous source. Additional information of where, how and the exact time of Norbu’s death cannot be ascertained at the moment due to heightened clampdown on flow of information from Tibet.
Tsewang Norbu, a well known contemporary singer and composer is considered to be among the new crop of artists from inside Tibet. He has produced many hit singles including Tsampa, Dress Up and Except You among others.
Norbu’s self-immolation is the latest case since 2019 and the first in Lhasa since 2012. Since 2009, at least 158 Tibetans have self-immolated inside Tibet, majority of them fatal, in an apparent protest against the Chinese rule in Tibet. Majority of the demands by self immolators evident by their slogans called for the freedom of Tibet and the return of exiled Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet.
The incident comes days before the anniversary of the March 10th ‘Tibetan Uprising day’ that is observed annually to commemorate the 1959 Tibetan uprising in Lhasa city against the invading forces of China in Tibet. The violent crackdown by Chinese army resulted in the death of over 85,000 Tibetans according to records of the exile Tibetan government known officially as the Central Tibetan Administration.
Tsewang Norbu’s protest was the first reported self-immolation since 2019 and the first in Lhasa since 2012. Since 2009, at least 158 Tibetans have carried out self-immolation protests inside Tibet, the vast majority of them fatal.