24/09/2020

Tibetan religious festival marked by two self-immolation death

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Kunchok Phelgye
Kunchok Phelgye

According to information received by TCHRD, two Tibetan men, a monk and a layman, have died after they burned themselves alive in separate incidents in the Tibetan province of Amdo in Tibet.
The day of the burning protests coincided with Ganden Ngamchoe (Festival of Lights), which commemorates the birth and death of the great Tibetan Buddhist master, Je Tsongkhapa.
Pema Dorjee, 23, died after setting himself on fire in Luchu (Ch: Luqu) County of Kanlho (Ch: Gannan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Gansu Province.

Pema Dorjee on fire in front of the main prayer hall of Choede Shitsang Monastery
Pema Dorjee on fire in front of the main prayer hall of Choede Shitsang Monastery

Quoting eyewitnesses, sources told TCHRD that the burning protest took place at around 4.30 pm (local time) in front of the main prayer hall of Choede Shitsang Monastery today.
Pema Dorjee called for “Tibetan land to be governed by Tibetans”, and “return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama”. Sources also said he called for Tibetan independence” and “unity among Tibetans”.
Many local Tibetans who had come to observe Ganden Ngamchoe at Shitsang Monastery witnessed the self-immolation.

Pema Dorjee was born and brought up in Shitsang nomadic camp 12 in Choekor Village (Luchu County).

Prayer ceremony in progress to observe the death of Kunchok Phegye
Prayer ceremony in progress to observe the death of Kunchok Phegye
Taktsang Lhamo Kirti Monastery in Ngaba
Taktsang Lhamo Kirti Monastery in Ngaba

In another self-immolation, Tibetan monk Kunchok Phegye, 24, died of self-immolation in Zoege (Ch: Ruo’ergai) in Ngaba (Ch: Aba) Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province.
Reliable sources told TCHRD that Kunchok Phegye set himself on fire at about 5.20 pm in front of the main prayer hall of Taktsang Lhamo Kirti Monastery in Ngaba. With folded hands in praying gesture, Phegye shouted slogans for the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet. He also called for the return of Kirti Rinpoche to Tibet and the reunion of Tibetans in and outside of Tibet. He died at the scene.
As Phegye died, monks at the monastery reacted with shock as some called out his name. The monks then recited prayers which were normally recited in honour of Kirti Rinpoche. Hundreds of monks attended the prayer session.
Kunchok Phegye was born and brought up in Ghoeda Village of Dingwa Township in Zoege County. As a child, Phegye joined Sumdo Monastery in Dingwa Township and later, in 2010, he joined Taktsang Lhamo Kirti Monastery, one of the largest monasteries in Ngaba County. He was a senior student of Buddhist Philosophy at the monastery. He left behind a family of nine including his parents, Kunchok Kyap and Dolma Tso.
Sources say security forces have beefed up surveillance and control at Taktsang Lhamo Kirti Monastery and neighbouring villages.