Dharamsala, October 9: On Friday TWA Central joined the Tibetan in exile community in being left completely stunned at the terrible news of two more self-immolations in Tibet; this follows last week’s unfortunate incident and makes a total of 7 self-immolations in Tibet this year. Yesterday evening TWA organized jointly a candlelight prayer offering to pay homage to all those martyrs, who recently resorted to such drastic action to raise their voices against brutal Chinese policy. In unison with this action, our worldwide regional TWA chapters are today holding candlelight vigils and prayer sessions in their homes, in all their respective locations.
The two teenagers were Choephel (aged 19) and Khaying (aged 18), formerly monks of the under siege Kirti Monastery; there have now been five self-immolations in Ngaba county within two weeks. According to reports, they held hands before setting fire to themselves, following which Chinese security extinguished the flames and took them to hospital; their current location and well-being is presently unknown, although at least one report has suggested Choephel has sadly died. Just five days ago, on Monday October 3, the Kirti Monastery monk Kelsang Wangchuk (aged 17) self-immolated himself whilst calling for freedom in Tibet. On September 26, Lobsang Kelsang and Lobsang Kunchok self-immolated; on August 15 Tsweang Norbu, and on March 16 Lonsang Phuntsok.
Yesterday evening’s event – “Save Tibetan Lives: Light a lamp for the martyrs” – was held from 6pm to 7pm in TCV Day School in McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala, and organised by the central Tibetan Women’s Association, Students for a Free Tibet India and the R/Tibetan Youth Congress.
“We, the organizers of this protest act here today in Dharamsala, representing Tibetan people in exile demand that the Chinese Government immediately withdraw their troops from Kirti Monastery and help diffuse the tension” said Kirti Dolkar Lhamo, President of Tibetan Women’s Association who is also a MP in the Tibetan parliament in exile;“We will organize internationally coordinated campaigns to galvanize global pressure on the Chinese Government to end this military siege in Ngaba,” she said.
TWA’s demand: In response to this escalating crisis, we appeal to international bodies to pressurize the Chinese authority to withdraw all the army troops from the Ngaba (Chinese, Aba) locality, particularly from the Kirti Monastery. Without the help of the international community, we fear these acts of desperation may persist.