The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) has received photographs of two Tibetan youths who died of self-immolation in 2012. For the past four years, Chinese government surveillance and restrictions on the self-immolators’ family and friends had made it impossible to get hold of their photographs and give them proper recognition.
The photographs of Lobsang Damchoe, 17, and Lobsang Sherab, 20, have rendered hollow the Chinese government propaganda that some of the self-immolation protests, particularly those with no photos, were made up by “anti-China forces”.
Self-immolation protests have become a major embarrassment and a politically sensitive issue for the Chinese government. All self-immolation protests are followed by extreme restrictions on immediate family members and friends of the self-immolator, in addition to security build-up in the self-immolator’s hometown or monastery. Chinese authorities have taken measures to apprehend and punish attempts to share online images or videos of self-immolation protesters.
Lobsang Damchoe, a former monk from the local Kirti Monastery, staged a twin self-immolation protest on 27 August 2012 with Lobsang Kelsang, an 18-year-old monk from Kirti Monastery near the monastery gate. Both men succumbed to their burns later in the evening at a government hospital in Barkham County.
Lobsang Damchoe was the younger brother of Tenzin Choedon, an 18-year-old nun from Mamae Dechen Chokorling Nunnery, who also died of self-immolation protest on 11 February 2012 in Ngaba County.
Lobsang Sherab died of self-immolation protest on 28 March 2012 in Cha township in Ngaba County. He died at the site of his self-immolation and local police took away his body despite protest from local Tibetans.