Contacts: Thubten Samphel
Mobile: 98050 24662
Tenzin P Atisha
Mobile: 98050 22510
For immediate release:
The Central Tibetan Administration is deeply saddened by the death of Tsewang Norbu who died because he had set himself on fire to draw the international community’s attention to the worsening crisis in Tibet. This act of desperation is another indication of the deteriorating human rights situation in Tibet.
Just as the whole of India was celebrating its freedom and independence from British colonial rule, in mid-noon on 15 August, Tsewang Norbu called the world’s attention to the lack of freedom to the Tibetan people. Before setting himself ablaze, Tsewang Norbu distributed leaflets calling for freedom for Tibet and return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to his people.
Reports coming out of Tibet say that Tsewang Norbu was a monk at the Nyatso Monastery in the county of Tawu in Kardze in Kham in eastern Tibet. At the time of his tragic and fiery death he was 29 years old.
The China’s official news agency, Xinhua, confirmed the death on Monday itself. Reports from Tibet say that Chinese armed police have now surrounded Nyatso Monastery. The police have also demanded that the body of Tsewang Norbu be handed over to them.
In view of the Tibetan people’s strong feelings of such untimely and tragic death of someone in the prime of life, the CTA urges the Chinese authorities to act with restraint and caution. We feel that any disproportionate reaction to someone who sacrificed himself for his conviction will only inflame an already tense situation. In this connection, the local Chinese authorities restoring the power and water supply to the monastery which have been cut since 6th July the birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, will help ease the tension.
The Chinese government a month ago issued a white paper on Tibet that outlined China’s benefits to the Tibetan people. We strongly urge the Chinese Central authorities that instead of issuing white papers that distort the grim reality in Tibet to review its current disastrous Tibet policy and opt for a policy based on the aspiration of the Tibetan people.
In conclusion, the CTA prays for the soul of the deceased and sends its condolence to the family members of Tsewang Norbu. We strongly urge all Tibetans and especially those in Tawu to follow His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s advice and teachings on the importance of non-violence.