107. Phagmo Dhondup

His Slogans: “Tibet is Independent,’ ‘Freedom in Tibet,’ and ‘May His Holiness the Dalai Lama live for thousands of years”

Name: Phagmo Dhondup

Age: Early 20’s

Sex: Male

Profession: Monk

Date of Self-immolation: 24 February 2013, 7 pm (local time)

Location: Jhakhyung Monastery in Tsoshar, Amdo, Northeastern Tibet

Current whereabouts/wellbeing: Deceased,

On 24 February, when hundreds of Tibetans were gathered at the Jhakhyung Monastery for a traditional prayer ceremony and offerings of butter lamps, Phagmo Dhondup set himself on fire. More than two months after his self-sacrifice, reports detailing the event surrounding his protest emerged. According to the source, Phagmo Dhondup went to a restaurant with a friend before his self-immolation protest and left a message calling for Tibet’s independence and freedom. According to eyewitness account, at around 7pm that day Phagmo Dhondup bought two bottles of kerosene and some coloured papers. He then drank a bottle and a half of the kerosene and burnt the paper while raising slogans, ‘Tibet is Independent,’ ‘Freedom in Tibet,’ and ‘May His Holiness the Dalai Lama live for thousands of years.’ Later, when Phagmo Dhondup reached the ancient Jhakhyung Monastery in Palung region of Tshoshar, Eastern Tibet, he doused himself with the remaining kerosene and set himself on fire. Monks at the monastery rushed him to a nearby hospital. After undergoing treatment at a hospital in Siling for over a month, Phagmo Dhondup succumbed to his injuries and passed away. The date of his demise is not confirmed. Phagmo Dhondup was a native of Tsaphuk town in Palung region. He is survived by his father, Shawo, and a sibling. In a conversation with a friend just minutes prior to his protest, Phagmo Dhondup reportedly said, “Till now, over a hundred Tibetans in Tibet have set themselves on fire for freedom. They are the true martyrs of Tibet. If Tibet does not get its freedom and independence, China will annihilate Tibetan culture and tradition.” “This year, Chinese authorities have restricted studying Tibetan language in our Tibetan areas in Bayen and all teachers have been expelled from the region. I am really sad now. Today on the night of the 15th day of the Tibetan New Year, I will set myself on fire in front of the debating grounds at the Jhakhyung Monastery. Today is Tibetan Independence Day.”phagmodhondup

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