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.

Following the news of her self-immolation, the local Tibetans started visiting her house to pay their last respects.

However, on the day Wangchen Dolma died Chinese officials prevented local lamas, monks, nuns, relatives and friends from visiting her house to pay their respects to the deceased.

Officials even placed the family members under house arrest, preventing them from having any contact with other Tibetans.

Sources inside Tibet said that Wangchen Dolma was studying with a Buddhist Nyingmapa master named Chokyi Nyima on a mountain retreat called Barshap Dakar in Tawu, where she spent four months meditating before her self-immolation.

Recently she came down from her retreat centre to attend a prayer ceremony at the Nyatso monastery. On 10 June, a day before her self-immolation, she addressed a group of students at a local Tibetan school in Tawu.

She advised the students to “learn Tibetan language, religion, culture,” and to become “good Tibetans.”

Immediately after her self-immolation on 11 June, the Chinese police stopped all means of communication to prevent news of her self-immolation from spreading outside Tibet and to the outside world.  This restriction was not lifted until 15 June, one day after Wangchen Dolma died.

The village of Dragthog lies 63 km east of Tawu. The residents of Tawu mostly earn their livelihood from farming. According to the fifth population census of the Chinese government, there are 1,178 people in the village.

Sources say in recent years Chinese officials have been making plans to construct electric power plants in the area. They have also made official announcements to relocate the local Tibetans to other areas.




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