17. Lobsang Jamyang

His slogan: “Long Live His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Freedom in Tibet”

Name: Lobsang Jamyang

Age: 22

Sex: Male

Profession: Former Monk at Andu Monastery, leader in promoting Tibetan language in his village

Date of Self-immolation: 14 January 2012

Location: Ngaba town, Amdo, Northeastern Tibet

Current whereabouts/wellbeing: Deceased 16

January 2012 On 14 January 2012, Lobsang Jamyang asked for a ride into town from a Tibetan neighbour and asked him to stop at Andu Monastery where he made a circumambulation. Lobsang Jamyang said no one knew what he was going to do. He had not told anyone. He also talked about the Tibetan language programme he had set up and said that people should be more united and put more effort into this. When they reached Ngaba town, he told his neighbour that he was going to have some vegetarian food and then went to the toilet. This was at around 1:30 pm (local time). Lobsang had apparently already doused himself in kerosene at an intersection in Ngaba town and when he emerged from the toilet he was already in flames. He then marched a few yards at the centre of the lobsangjamyangtown, faced Kirti Monastery, and shouted slogans calling for Tibetan independence from China and for the return of the Dalai Lama.

In the already heavily-militarized town, the nearby police immediately pounced on him. As can be seen at the start of the YouTube footage of his immolation, the flames have died down and armed police and special forces have closed in on him as Tibetans gather around. Armed police can be seen using a pushcart to knock Lobsang to the ground. As he falls police on either side can be seen kicking him brutality. This was corroborated by witnesses. The authorities then covered him with a white cloth — as if dousing the flames — but continued to beat and stomp on him according to bystanders. Sources reported that bystanders stood up to the armed security personnel unable to bear the sight. They completely disregarded the consequences of resisting the officials and demanded that his body be handed over to them. The Chinese police started firing teargas and shot at the massed crowd and a scuffle ensued. At least two people were shot although no information on their condition could be relayed. A Tibetan man was apparently severely wounded in the neck by a spiked weapon. According to sources, a Tibetan woman in her 40s died after she was hit in the eye with iron chains during the standoff between the police and the crowd. Almost 700 Tibetans had gathered to protest the police actions and at least 10 were arrested. The crowd tried their best to block the path of the police as they began to take Lobsang’s body away. Lobsang Jamyang subsequently died; reliable sources state that he may have survived until 16 January but this could not be confirmed as he was in police custody. Security personnel visited Lobsang Jamyang’s family and demanded compensation for fire damage to police uniforms, which were described as ‘State property’. A monk in childhood at Andu Monastery, Lobsang later joined Bontse Primary School in Ngaba County to complete his education. A Tibetan now in exile who knew him said that “when he was very small, he used to be quite self-sufficient and he would play for hours with a small thing, like just one blade of grass. After being a monk as a child, he went to school and learnt Tibetan and Chinese. His family is not well-off and they depended on him, so he continued life as a layman. “I hadn’t seen him for some time but I heard that after 2008 he became more nationalistic, and was inspired by the actions of other Tibetans. He said that Tibetans couldn’t remain as they were under such conditions. In 2011, Lobsang became a leading member of a popular association in his village for the promotion of Tibetan language called Pure Land Program for which he was being constantly targeted and harassed.” Lobsang Jamyang’s mother, Lacham said she did not regret his death and was proud of her son who had “sacrificed his life for the Tibetan cause”.

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