Monk calls for love and harmony to prevail in last note before self-immolation

Lobsang Palden's whereabouts and condition remain unknown after his self-immolation

Lobsang Palden’s whereabouts and condition remain unknown after his self-immolation

A monk from Kirti Monastery has become the 128th Tibetan to carry out self-immolation protest against Chinese government’s repressive policies in Tibet since 2009. In his last note, Lobsang Palden, 20, has called for love and harmony to prevail over hatred and repression:

“[Y]ou should be able to [live in] harmony with your neighbors – people of the world in general and the Chinese in particular. This is because, if there is love and harmony, we will be able to air our views, no matter what they are and to whom we want to air them.”

Lobsang Palden, a monk from Kirti Monastery in Ngaba (Ch: Aba) County in Tibet’s northeastern province of Amdo self-immolated on 16 March 2014 at around 11:40 am, according to sources from inside Tibet.

The self-immolation occurred at ‘Martyrs’ Street’, which was named so by locals after a series of self-immolation protests was staged on this stretch of the road in Ngaba town. [Read more...]

China announces unprecedented harsh measures to deter self-immolations in Tibet’s Dzoege County

Document issued by Dzoege County government in Chinese

Document issued by Dzoege County government in Chinese

In April 2013, the local government in Dzoege (Ch: Ru-ergai) County in Ngaba (Ch: Aba) Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture (Sichuan Province) announced that it was taking every man, woman, and child hostage. In a document recently smuggled out of Dzoege County dated 8 April 2013, the government announced that if there was a self-immolation it would punish the immolator’s village, monastery, and family. Unlike previous policies that targeted people for “inciting” self-immolations or punished people for refusing to provide a government sanctioned explanation of the immolation, Dzoege government is punishing people explicitly because of what somebody else did.

The document issued by Dzoege County government contains 16 articles and begins by targeting the self-immolator’s family—the internationally recognized “natural and fundamental group unit of society” (ICESCR Art. 10; ICCPR Art. 23). Family members of self-immolators will be blacklisted (Art. 6) and subject to criminal sanctions, such as the deprivation of political rights (Art 2). They will also be deprived of employment with the government (Art. 1), excluded from all welfare benefits for 3 years (Art. 4), denied ownership of their houses and lands (Art.10), prevented from starting a business (Art. 10), and barred from traveling to Lhasa or to foreign countries (Art. 11). [Read more...]

A year after arrest, monk sentenced to 6 years in prison over self-immolation

Undated photo of Gedun Gyatso (Top left) and four other monks arrested last year in Bora.

Undated photo of Gedun Gyatso (Top left) and four other monks arrested last year in Bora.

A Tibetan monk has been sentenced to six years in prison over self-immolation protest, more than a year after his arrest in Sangchu (Ch: Xiahe) County in Kanlho (Ch: Gannan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu Province.

According to reliable information received by TCHRD, Gedun Gyatso, 47,  a monk from Bora Monastery was sentenced to prison on “intentional homicide” charges by the Sangchu County People’s Court. The sentence was passed on 10 December 2013. [See photo of the announcement by the County court on Gedun Gyatso’s sentencing]  [Read more...]

Tibetan singer secretly sentenced to five years in prison amid major crackdown in Rebkong

Tibetan singer Shawo Tashi sentenced to five years in prison

Tibetan singer Shawo Tashi sentenced to five years in prison

A Tibetan singer has been secretly sentenced to five years in prison following his arbitrary detention in November 2012 in Dowa Township in Rebkong (Ch: Tongren) County in Malho (Ch: Huangnan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province.

Shawo Tashi, 40, was charged with “distributing photographs of self-immolation protesters; writing last notes left by self-immolation protesters on these photographs; participating in protest against Chinese government and singing patriotic Tibetan songs”, according to information received by TCHRD.

Sources with contacts in Rebkong cannot immediately confirm the exact date of sentencing, however, they believe he is now being imprisoned at a prison in Siling (Ch: Xining) city, capital of Qinghai Province. [Read more...]

Tibetan man sentenced to death over wife’s self-immolation

Dolma Kyab (Ch: Drolma Gya) sentenced to death over wife's self-immolation. Photo: Xinhua

Dolma Kyab (Ch: Drolma Gya) sentenced to death over wife’s self-immolation. Photo: Xinhua

In a deepening crackdown on self-immolation protests, Chinese authorities in Ngaba (Ch: Aba) Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province, have given death sentence to a Tibetan man for allegedly killing his wife.

Dolma Kyab, 32, was handed death penalty more than five months after the death of his wife, Kunchok Wangmo, 29, in Dzoege (Ch: Rue’rgai) County in Ngaba Prefecture, according to a Xinhua report carried on the official Chinese website of china.org.cn and Global Times.

The report said Dolma Kyab strangled his wife to death at 11 pm on 11 March 2013 following an argument over his drinking problem. He then burned his wife’s body early next morning to make it look like she committed self-immolation, the report claimed quoting court authorities. Mr. Kyab is the sole bread earner in his family which consists of his eight-year-old daughter and his aged mother .

However, exile Tibetan sources had reported that Kunchok Wangmo died of self-immolation protest on 13 March 2013 on the main street of Dzoege County town. A day later, on 14 March, Dolma Kyab was detained after he refused to follow official orders to blame the death of his wife on domestic problems. [Read more...]

Teenage monk dies of burning protest; fate of body unknown

Kunchok Sonam, 18, died of  burning protest at Soktsang Village in Thangkor Township in Dzoege County.

Kunchok Sonam, 18, died of burning protest at Soktsang Village in Thangkor Township, Dzoege County.

A Tibetan monk, Kunchok Sonam, 18, died after setting himself on fire to protest China’s repressive policy in Dzoege (Ch: Ru’ergai) County in Ngaba (Ch: Aba) Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province, in the Tibetan province of Amdo.

According to information received by TCHRD, on the morning of 20 July, Kunchok Sonam, a monk at Tashi Thekchokling Monastery in Dzoege County set himself alight and died shortly. Sources say the young monk had just finished his morning prayers and was on his way out of the monastery when he burned himself up in protest at around 8.30 am.

Sources  quote eyewitness accounts as saying that some fellow monks saw Kunchok Sonam on fire with both his hands clasped in a praying gesture. No one could make out the slogans he were shouting due to the strong flames. As soon as he fell on the ground, monks went near him but he had already died with his hands still folded in a praying gesture.  [Read more...]

Refugee Testimony: Former disciple of disappeared Buddhist scholar escapes Tibet

Tenzin Dawa (name changed), 36, is a Tibetan monk from Barmi Monastery in Tsongru (Ch: Chonger) Township of Dzoege (Ch: Ru’ergai) County, Ngaba (Ch: Aba) Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province, in the Tibetan province of Amdo. Dzoege County has witnessed at least seven confirmed self-immolation protests so far.

Tenzin Dawa reached India early this month. He is also a former disciple of Gyen Kunchok Nyima, a Buddhist scholar and teacher at Drepung Monastery who went missing since April 2008 after his detention and subsequent sentencing to 20 years in prison. Tenzin Dawa says there are many disciples of Gyen Kunchok Nyima looking for information about the whereabouts of their teacher. No one knows where the Buddhist scholar is imprisoned or whether he is alive.

In his testimony to TCHRD, Tenzin Dawa recounts the current situation inside Tibet in particular his hometown in Dzoege where local Chinese authorities have planted spies in every village to monitor conversations and keep a strict watch over Tibetan activities, in an ongoing effort to prevent self-immolation and other protests.

The testimony also contains details on how Chinese authorities attempted to pressure local Tibetans to sign an official order that forbids any kind of activities to support or sympathise with self-immolation protests. [Read more...]

China sentences Tibetan monk to 10 yrs in prison

Tsultrim Kalsang, 26, was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Tsultrim Kalsang, 25, was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

A Tibetan monk from the restive Nyatso Zilkar Monastery has been sentenced to 10 years in prison in Dzatoe (Ch: Zaduo) town, Tridu (Ch: Chenduo) County in Jyekundo (Chinese: Yushu), Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province.

According to information received by TCHRD, Tsultrim Kalsang, 25, received a 10-year sentence in prison on ‘intentional homicide’ charges, a charge used frequently by the Chinese authorities to crack down on self-immolation protests and to persecute critics of Chinese policy in Tibet.

On 12 July 2013, at around 8 am, an Intermediate People’s Court in Xining sentenced Tsultrim Kalsang to 10 years in prison.

Local sources say Tsultrim Kalsang’s charges are possibly related to the twin self-immolation protest carried out by two Tibetan youths in Dzatoe township on 30 June 2012. Both Ngawang Norphel, 22, and Tenzin Khedup, 24, died of their injuries. [Read more...]

Nun dies of self-immolation, family placed under house arrest

An undated photograph of nun Wangchen Dolma

An undated photograph of nun Wangchen Dolma

According to sources inside Tibet, on 11 June, Wangchen Dolma, a nun from Tawu (Ch: Daofu) County in Kardze (Ch: Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture self-immolated in protest against Chinese rule.

Wangchen Dolma, 31, committed her self-immolation near Nyatso Monastery Tawu County in the Tibetan province of Kham. She hailed from Dragthog Village in Tawu County and her father’s name is Tenzin and mother’s Youdon.

The Chinese police immediately arrived at the scene of the self-immolation and took her to a local hospital in Dartsedo (Ch: Kangding) in Kardze Prefecture.

Three days later on 14 June around 8 am, she succumbed to her injuries and died.

Wangchen Dolma became the 119th Tibetan and the third from Tawu region to self-immolate in protest of China’s repressive policies.

Sources said the Chinese police refused to give Wangchen Dolma’s body to her family and cremated it. [Read more...]

Two monks sentenced to 3 yrs in prison for holding prayers for self-immolator

Tsondue and Gedun Tsultrim in their prison uniform meet family members and relatives after the court trial

Tsondue and Gedun Tsultrim in their prison uniform meet family members and relatives after the court trial

The relentless crackdown on self-immolation protests in Tibet continued when Chinese authorities sentenced two Tibetan monks to three years in prison for holding religious rituals and prayer services for a Tibetan man who died of self-immolation protest in November last year in Kangtsa Township in Yazi (Ch: Xunhua) Salar Autonomous County in Tsoshar (Ch: Haidong) Prefecture, Qinghai Province.  The Chinese authorities deemed this exercise of the monks’ fundamental rights criminal pursuant to a 2012 guideline on handling self-immolations.

Wangchen Norbu, 25, died during a self-immolation protest on 19 November last year. As he burned, Wangchen Norbu called for an end to Chinese repression and demanded the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet, freedom in Tibet, and the release of the 11th Panchen Lama, and all the Tibetan political prisoners. [Read more...]