DHARAMSHALA: The Department of Religion and Culture, Central Tibetan Administration today held a prayer service for Tenga (63) who died after burning himself in protest against the Chinese government on 26 November in Kardze, eastern Tibet.
The prayer service was presided over by Lopon Thupten Choephel of Namgyal Monastery, and attended by members of the Kashag, members of the Tibetan Parliament, chief justice commissioners and staff of the Central Tibetan Administration along with local Tibetan public.
In his condolence remarks, President Dr Lobsang Sangay expressed the Kashag’s profound sadness at the self-immolation of Tenga and read out a brief biography of the deceased, describing him as a scholar of Tibetan language. He further conveyed the Kashag’s concern at the clampdown imposed by local Chinese authorities in Kardze following the self-immolation.
He highlighted the growing international attention on the situation inside Tibet, citing the coverage of the latest self-immolation protest in leading international dailies and the discussion on status of Tibetan political prisoners in the Canadian parliament.
“The Canadian senate recently raised the issue of five Tibetan political prisoners including the status of Panchen Rinpoche. The Canadian foreign minister also stated in the parliament that China should allow human rights activists and UN officials to meet the Panchen Lama who has been forcibly kidnapped since the age of six. The United Nations has also released a report on the situation inside Tibet based on five urgent researches conducted between February and August this year,” he said, and urged the international community to do more to alleviate the sufferings of the Tibetan people inside Tibet.
President Dr Sangay also underlined non-violence as the principal approach undertaken by the Tibetan people in their struggle for freedom including the self-immolaters. “At least 150 people have set themselves on fire in protest since 2009. However, not even a single person has resorted to violence or attempted to hurt someone while staging their protest. This is something that the world should know,” he said.
Addressing the Tibetan diaspora, he said the Tibetan people in exile should heed the profound aspirations of the Tibetan people inside Tibet i.e, restoration of freedom inside Tibet and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet. “We should treat the aspirations of the Tibetan people inside Tibet as sacred and exert our concerted effort to fulfill their aspirations by preserving the unity of the Tibetan people,”he said.
Dr Sangay further urged Chinese president Xi Jinping to reform China’s failed policies in Tibet in his second term, and said that repressive, hard line policies will never work, but rather they should address the genuine grievances of the Tibetan people to resolve the Tibet issue.
Despite the Central Tibetan Administration’s repeated appeals not to resort to drastic actions such as self-immolation, at least 150 Tibetans have set themselves on fire inside Tibet since 2009. Out of the 150, 128 of them has died while the status of the rest remains unknown. Tenga who was the latest self-immolater, has raised calls for freedom in Tibet before succumbing to his injuries that he has sustained during the fiery protest.