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China's "tyrannical laws" compels monk to self-immolate PDF Print E-mail
[19 December 2013] A Tibetan monk has died following a self-immolation protest in eastern Tibet today. Tsultrim Gyatso left a note calling for the return of the Dalai Lama and the release of the Panchen Lama. He said the suffering of Tibetans under China's "tyrannical laws" had "compelled" him to burn his body.

Tsultrim GyatsoTsultrim Gyatso, a 43 year-old monk from Amchok monastery, self-immolated at approximately 2.45pm (local time) on 19 December in Amchok (Chinese: Amuqu) town, Sangchu (or Labrang, Ch: Xiahe) county, Kanlho (Ch: Gannan) prefecture, Amdo (now part of China's Gansu province).

Tsultrim is understood to have died at the scene. His body was taken to Amchok monastery, where over 400 monks have gathered to say prayers and conduct traditional funeral rituals. It is not known if Chinese security forces have attempted to intervene, as has often happened following self-immolations in Tibet.

[UPDATE 20 Dec: The Chinese authorities have forced Tsultrim's body to be cremated. According to TCHRD sources, monks at Amchok monastery were told that they would face punitive action unless the body was cremated. The cremation took place at approximately 8pm local time on 19 December. By forcing a cremation the Chinese authorities are not allowing traditional Tibetan funeral rituals to be carried out.]

NoteA note left behind by Tsultrim explaining the reasons for his self-immolation has been translated by Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD). In his note, Tsultrim says he is "compelled" to burn his body given the "oppression" and "tyrannical laws" imposed by the Chinese authorities. He also calls for the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet, for the release of the Panchen Lama and for the welfare of the Tibetan population.

The full translation by TCHRD is as follows:


The tears
The heart aches

Dear brother
Can you hear me?
Can you see it?
Can you hear it?
Whom should we appeal to [relieve] the suffering of six million Tibetans?

The tyrannical laws of the Chinese
They are taking away our treasure house of gold and silver
The public is being subjected to oppression
Thinking about these, tears flow out of my eyes

I am compelled to burn my precious human body
For the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama
For the release of the imprisoned Panchen Lama
For the welfare of the six million Tibetans

I offer my body to the fire
I pray that my sacrifice serves all the sentient beings in their path to liberation.

Tsultrim Gyatso is the 124th Tibetan to self-immolate in Tibet since February 2009, and the 27th this year. There have also been six other self-immolations by Tibetans, one in Beijing, two in India and three in Nepal. The self-immolation protests, which started in February 2009, have been in response to the lack of freedoms brought about by Chinas hard-line policies in Tibet. The vast majority of self-immolators have specifically called for the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet, for an end to Chinas oppressive policies or for Tibetan unity.

Further reading: TCHRDRFA
Warning: the TCHRD report contains a graphic image of the self-immolation
Take ActionBackground to self-immolations

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