Elderly Tibetan nomad burns himself alive in protest

TCHRD can confirm that there was another self-immolation yesterday in Tibet. Dhondup, a nomad and farmer, aged around 65, set himself on fire yesterday morning about 9.30 am (Tibetan time) at the right side of a monastery called Serkhang, [གསེར་ཁང་ “golden house” or “golden temple”] in Labrang [Ch: Xiahe Tib: Sangchu County], in Kanlho (Ch: Gannan) Prefecture, Gansu province.

monks at Labrang
Dhondup’s burned body at Serkhang Monastery. We believe the white object is a rubber can or rubber bucket.

The self-immolation took place on the circumambulation route and near the entrance of Labrang Monastery. Eyewitnesses who saw the protest said the flames coming from his body produced a huge blaze.

The local Chinese army arrived immediately after the self-immolation. Those present reported that the soldiers put Dhondup’s body in a bag and took it away. Tibetan sources have confirmed that Dhondup died after the self-immolation, and that he had already been cremated. It is unknown who carried out the cremation because the Chinese soldiers confiscated his body.

Chinese soldiers at Labrang – 2

Yesterday, monks from Labrang Monastery attempted to hold a prayer ceremony for Dhondup at the place of his protest. But local Chinese police, officials from the local Government, and the Monastery Management Committee tried to stop the prayer service. Local Tibetans were offering khatag(traditional Tibetan ceremonial scarves) at the place, and more Tibetans were gathering there too.

Our sources have been trying to get more information, but people are too scared to talk on the phone. After Lhamo Kyab’s self-immolation in Bora monastery two days prior to this one, the restrictions in Labrang are draconian and repressive, and the Chinese authorities have blocked the phone networks.

Chinese soldiers at Labrang - 1
Chinese soldiers at Labrang – 1

Dhondup was born in DhongNhe Do village in Denme Township in Sangchu County. He got married to a woman named Drolma Tso and moved to the Horkha gya village [ཧོར་ཁ་རྒྱ་སྡེ་བ་] in Sangchu County. He then moved to Ngagpa village [སྔགས་པ་སྡེ་བ་ “tantric village”] in Gyoegya Township [Ch: Jiujia] in Labrang with his wife and lived there for more than 15 years. Dhondup and his wife do not have any children, but they adopted a boy called Rigzin Choepel. The Ngagpa village is just 100 meters away from Labrang monastery. Ngagpa village is next to Ngagpa Monastery [སྔགས་པ་གྲྭ་ཚང་”tantric school”], and Dhondup’s adopted son also attended the Tantric school there.

Dhondup's body at Labrang
Dhondup’s body at Labrang
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