DHARAMSHALA: The Department of Religion and Culture, Central Tibetan Administration today held a prayer service for Konpe, who died after burning himself in protest against the Chinese government on 23 December, in Meuruma, Ngaba county.
The prayer service was led 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 his profound sadness at the self-immolation, and reiterated the Kashag’s growing concern at the deteriorating political and human rights situation inside Tibet.
“Today, we are gathered here to pray for Konpe, who passed away after setting himself on fire on 23 December,” President Dr Sangay said.
“Konpe, aged around 30s, was born and brought up in Chukle Gongma pastoral community in Cha village, Ngaba County. He has been married for just over a year. He has two brothers and three sisters, and one of his brothers is a monk at Kirti monastery.”
“The video of Konpe’s self-immolation that is circulated on social media is really disturbing and poignant. Although the slogans that he raised were not clear, we can safely say that the step he has taken is a desperate message to the Chinese government of the grim situation prevailing inside Tibet for Tibetans.”
“After his self-immolation, Chinese authorities came and took his body to Barkham. However, he passed away the next day around 5:00 in the morning. The authorities have then called his family members to Barkham, and demanded money from his father to cover the allegedly exorbitant medical fees that went into treating Konpe,” Dr Sangay informed the public.
“Konpe’s self-immolation goes on to show the grim and heartbreaking situation prevailing inside Tibet. Ngaba in particular has been a hotbed of the fiery protests that swept Tibet since 2009, with over 57 of the total 151 self-immolations taking place in Ngaba alone,” President Dr Sangay said.
“Since 2009, at least 151 Tibetans have set themselves on fire in Tibet. Out of them, 41 were monks, eight were nuns while the rest were lay people from different walks of life and social statuses.”
“Therefore, through this prayer service, let’s pray for all the Tibetan self-immolaters and political prisoners who have died as a result of Chinese brutality and those who continue to languish in Chinese prisons,” he said.