05/12/2019

Two Tibetan monks die of self-immolation protest

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Konchok Woeser, 23, died after setting himself on fire in protest against Chinese government.
Konchok Woeser, 23, died after setting himself on fire in protest against Chinese government.

Despite extreme measures implemented by the Chinese authorities to crack down on self-immolation protests, burning protests in Tibet continue unabated as two more Tibetans died yesterday after setting themselves on fire on the eve of the 24th birthday of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, Tibet’s XIth Panchen Lama, one of the most important Tibetan spiritual leaders who was disappeared along with his parents by the Chinese authorities almost 18 years ago.

According to confirmed information received by TCHRD, at around 6.40 pm on 24 April 2013, two monks of Taktsang Lhamo Kirti Monastery set themselves on fire and died in Dzoege (Ch: Ruergai) County in Ngaba (Ch: Aba) Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province.

Lobsang Dawa, 20, also died of self-immolation protest in Dzoege County in Tibet
Lobsang Dawa, 20, also died of self-immolation protest in Dzoege County in Tibet

The monks, Lobsang Dawa, 20, and Konchok Woeser, 23, set themselves on fire at the right hand corner of the monastery’s assembly hall. They shouted slogans of protest against the Chinese government and its policies in Tibet, and died immediately, on the site of their protest. Fellow monks took their bodies to their monastic quarters and said prayers for them.

Local authorities have issued orders that the remains of the monks must be cremated the next morning, that is, on 25 April.

Losang Dawa is from the ‘lower’ Zaru nomadic community in the Zaru area of Dzoege. His father Dorje Khandro, 62, has seven children by two wives, and he is the youngest. His mother is deceased.

Konchok Woeser is from the Tsako Ruwa nomadic community in the Mechu area of Dzoege. His father is is Tsering Norbu and mother Samdrup Drolma. He is the middle of the three sons.

Taktsang Lhamo Kirti Monastery, founded by the fifth Kirti Rinpoche Lobsang Tenpai Gyaltsen in 18th century in Dzoege
Taktsang Lhamo Kirti Monastery, founded by the fifth Kirti Rinpoche Lobsang Tenpai Gyaltsen in 18th century in Dzoege

Both had joined Taktsang Lhamo Kirti at a young age. Losang Dawa was attending the ‘Du-chen’ philosophy class, and Konchok Woeser was studying in the Tantric college of the monastery. Both were model students, in their behaviour and in their studies.

Taktsang Lhamo Kirti Monastery is nearly 150 km from the Dzoege County seat, on the border with Gansu Province. The monastery was founded by the fifth Kirti Rinpoche Lobsang Tenpai Gyaltsen in 1748. At present, the monastery has four colleges on Philosophy, Tantric, Kalachakra and Medicine, with around 700 monks.