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Grandfather of reincarnate lama self-immolates PDF Print E-mail
[15 October 2012] A Tibetan man died on 13 October after self-immolating in Kanlho, north-eastern Tibet. The man, who was protesting against China's brutal regime, was identified as the grandfather of Gunthang Rinpoche, one of Tibet's most revered religious leaders. There have now been 42 self-immolations in Tibet this year.

Tamdin DorjeeTamdin Dorjee (pictured right), in his early fifties, set fire to himself at approximately 1pm (local time) on 13 October at Tsoe monastery in Tsoe (Ch: Hezuo) county, Kanlho (Ch: Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture), Amdo (now incorporated into China's Gansu province). According to Phayul, during his protest, Tamdin Dorjee was heard to shout for freedom for Tibet and for the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet. He died at the scene.

Local monks took Tamdin's body away to say prayers and to return it to his home village. Tsoe monastery has since been placed under military lockdown (see photo, below). According to VOA, despite a heavy military build-up following the self-immolation, large numbers of Tibetans have gathered in Tsoe to pray for Tamdin Dorjee.

Tsoe monasteryThe location of the protest, next to a stupa in the grounds of Tsoe monastery, is the same site as where Dolkar Tso self-immolated and died on 7 August. There have now been three self-immolations in Tsoe. On 6 October, Sangay Gyatso died after setting himself on fire in the grounds of Dokar monastery.

Tamdin Dorjee, from Drong che village, Khasag township, Kanlho was the father to three children. He was also grandfather to 10 year-old Lobsang Geleg Tenpe Khenchen, who was recognised in 2002 as the reincarnation of Gungthang Rinpoche, an important lama at Labrang monastery.

The previous Gungthang Rinpoche, Jigme Tenpe Wangchug, was a highly influential and respected lama. Following 21 years imprisonment he returned to Labrang to continue his role as a religious and community leader and oversee the reconstruction of Labrang monastery, which had been destroyed during the Cultural Revolution.

There have been 55 self-immolations in Tibet since February 2009, of which 46 are known to have resulted in deaths. Eight of the survivors were taken by Chinese security forces to military hospitals, though the condition and exact whereabouts for all are not known. One monk is being treated in his monastery. Of the 55 to have self-immolated, 32 were monks or former monks, three were nuns and 20 were laypeople.

Further reading: ICT I CTA I VOA I Phayul (contains graphic image)

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