Six million Tibetans want freedom and independence: A self-immolator’s last message

DHARAMSHALA, November 14: A Tibetan self-immolator, who passed away in his fiery protest, called for “freedom and independence for Tibet,” in a last message he wrote before setting himself on fire.

In his last testament, Nyingkar Tashi, 24, went on to call for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, while clearly stating that his self-immolation was in protest against the Chinese government.

Tibetan self-immolator Nyingkar Tashi in an undated photo.

“Six million Tibetans want freedom for Tibet, independence for Tibet, freedom to learn Tibetan language, freedom to speak our mother tongue,” Tashi’s last note written in Tibetan states. “(Tibetans) demand the release of Panchen Lama and that His Holiness the Dalai Lama must be allowed to come to Tibet.”

“I set myself on fire in protest against the Chinese government.”

He also urged family members, especially his father Tashi Namgyal, not be “saddened and concerned.”

“My hope is for all six million Tibetans to learn Tibetan language, to speak in Tibetan, to wear Tibetan, and to be united.”

On November 12, Nyingkar Tashi set himself on fire at Ghey-mar Thang in Dro Rongpo region of Rebkong, eastern Tibet, raising slogans for the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

His self-immolation was witnessed by a large crowd of Tibetans who were visiting the area to offer prayers and condolences to the family members of Tibetan self-immolatorsTamding Tso and Kalsang Jinpa.

“The large gathering was able to rescue Nyingkar Tashi’s body from falling into the hands of the Chinese security forces,” Dorjee Wangchuk, an exiled Tibetan with close contacts in the region told Phayul. “They later carried his body to his home.”

Tamding Tso, a young mother of a seven-year-old son, set herself on fire on November 7 in Dro Rongpo, while Kalsang Jinpa self-immolated at the Dolma Square in front of the Rongwo Monastery, a day later. Massive anti-government protests erupted in the region, after the self-immolations, with thousands of school students and locals marching on the streets, raising slogans for freedom and the Dalai Lama’s return.

According to Wangchuk, a large number of Chinese government and communist party officials travelled to Dowa town following the protests, to speak to local Tibetans and community leaders.

“On November 11, the Chinese government officials, speaking to the public blamed outside forces for instigating the self-immolations and noted that such acts went against the country’s policies,” Wangchuk said. “Again on November 12 local community leaders were summoned, which was around the same time when Nyingkar Tashi self-immolated.”

Hours after his fiery protest, another Tibetan, Nyingchag Bum, passed away in his self-immolation protest in the same region.

According to the exile Tibetan administration, a large number of military convoys were dispatched towards Dowa town soon after Monday’s twin protests.

Various sources have told Phayul that Chinese authorities have cut off electricity in Dowa, disabling the use of internet, in a ploy to prevent further spread of information on the protests and the current situation there.

No international calls could be made to the region, sparking fears of severe military repression and threat to the safety and security of local Tibetans.

Ten Tibetans have set themselves on fire in November alone, taking the self-immolation toll to 72 since the fiery protests began in 2009.

Phayul

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