In an apparent protest against China’s repressive policies in the region, Tsering Tashi, 22, set himself on fire on Saturday, January 12, 2013 around 2 pm in Achok Township in Sangchu County. Sources from the area told VOA that Tashi was wearing iron chains around his body when he self-immolated and shouted, “Victory to His Holiness the Dalai Lama” while engulfed in fire. Tashi died at the scene of his protest.
Sources stated that local Tibetans pelted security forces with stones and were successful in securing Tsering Tashi’s body and taking it to his home yesterday.
After the arrival of his body at his home, several security vehicles surrounded the house and prevented monks who had come to pray for Tashi, and the general public who came to pay their respects and express their solidarity with the deceased’s family. The security head who ordered the family to carry out the cremation immediately was reported to have pounded his fist on the table and accused the Tashi’s family of having a close connection with the “Dalai clique.”
In order to avoid further repercussions, Tsering Tashi’s father, Dukar Kyab, agreed to cremate his son without having carried out proper religious rites. Tsering Tashi’s mother, Tsering Dolma, lost consciousness from the shock of having to perform the sudden cremation and had to be taken to the hospital for treatment.
Sources describe Tsering Tashi as a good natured young man who loved to ride horses and had won races in the local horse racing contests.
Tsering Tashi is the first known Tibetan to self-immolate this year, bringing the total number of self-immolation protests in Tibet since 2009 to 96. Almost of all of the 96 Tibetans, who staged self-immolation protests in Tibet, called for the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet and freedom for Tibet.
The Dalai Lama last week called on Beijng to conduct a “thorough investigation” into the causes of self-immolations in Tibet instead of blaming outside for complicity.