DHARAMSHALA: The Central Tibetan Administration in Dharamsala organised a grand prayer service on Sunday, as fresh reports coming out of Tibet say a Tibetan artist burned himself to death in north-eastern Tibet calling for freedom and return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Gonpo Tsering, 19, set fire to himself on fire around 2 pm in Lushoe village in Tsoe county (China’s Hezou in Gansu province) in north-eastern Tibet on Saturday. As flames consumed his body, he raised slogans demanding freedom for Tibetans and return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to his homeland. Local Tibetans tried to extinguished the flames, but Gonpo succumbed to his injuries two hours later.
His body was taken to his native Kay village, where local Tibetans organised a special prayer service.
Gonpo Tsering studied at high school in Tsoe county, during which he received awards for best student and excellence in studies. Local Tibetans describe him as very friendly with moral demeanour. Since he could not continue his school education, he was involved in an artistic work to educate people in his locality since this June.
Addressing a grand prayer service for self-immolators at the main temple here today, Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay reiterated the Central Tibetan Administration’s grave concern over the prevailing grim situation in Tibet, adding that the Tibetan people are passing through one of saddest periods in its history.
He said the escalating number of self-immolations by Tibetans reflects how repressive and unbearable is the situation under the Chinese rule.
He said the massive protest by thousands of Tibetan students in Rebgong in north-eastern Tibet (China’s Tongren in Qinghai) on Friday reflect their deep resentment against China’s policies to undermine the Tibetan language and cultural identity. (Thousands of Students Lead Protests in Tibet)
“We categorically reject the accusations and claims by a handful of Tibetan leaders of Tibet Autonomous Region that Tibetans in exile have encouraged the self-immolations and Tibetans in Tibet are enjoying freedom and happy, during their press conference in Beijing on Friday. We are saddened to hear such false statements on the situation in Tibet from Tibetans,” Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay said.
He reiterated the blame and solution for the crisis in Tibet lies squarely with the Chinese government, adding, the self-immolations will end if Beijing its repressive policies and find a lasting solution to the issue of Tibet through dialogue.
He said the CTA and Tibetans in exile would do everything to fulfil the unequivocal universal aspiration of Tibetans inside Tibet for the restoration of freedom for Tibetans and His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s return to Tibet.
He urged the US government to provide strong support to meaningful efforts made by Tibetans in exile in democracy and non-violence as part of Obama administration’s “pivot to Asia” policy.
He also strongly called on the media to draw the attention of the international community, including Chinese people, on the escalating tragic situation in Tibet.
Despite repeated appeals by the Central Tibetan Administration to refrain from drastic actions, over 70 Tibetans have set themselves on fire in Tibet since 2009, calling for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet and freedom for Tibetans. (View latest fact sheet)