Name: Sonam

Age: 24

Sex: Male

Profession: Nomad

Date of Self-immolation: 19 April 2012

Location: Barma Township in the Tibetan area of Dzamthang County, Ngaba, Amdo, Northeastern Tibet

Current whereabouts/wellbeing: Deceased same day Last Testament: Below

Name: Choepak Kyap

Age: 25

Sex: Male

Profession: Nomad

Date of Self-immolation: 19 April 2012

Locations: Barma Township in the Tibetan area of Dzamthang County, Ngaba, Amdo, Northeastern Tibet

Current whereabouts/wellbeing: Deceased same day Last Testament: Below

At around 1 pm on 19 April 2012 Sonam and Choepak Kyap set themselves on fire in the vicinity of a local government office in Barma Township, near Jonang Dzamthang Gonchen Monastery. The two young Tibetans were related (Choepak was Sonam’s uncle) and from a nomadic background. Immediately following their actions local Tibetans surrounded the two men to prevent them from being beaten and dragged away by security personnel. Sonam and Choepak succumbed to their injuries a few hours after their protest. The Tibetans then carried their bodies to the nearby Dzamthang Jonang Monastery so prayers and funeral services could be held.

sonam choepakkyabThis was their last testament: Tibetans are a people who have a unique culture and spiritual tradition. They are compassionate and treat others with respect. However, after the Chinese occupation, Tibetans suffer without basic human rights. It is for this reason, and in order for peace to prevail on earth, we offer our lives by setting ourselves on fire. The suffering of Tibetans without basic human rights is far worse than the suffering that we endure when we set ourselves on fire. “Our cherished parents, family members and relatives, it is not that we do not have love and affection towards you. With equanimity we have taken this decision to set ourselves on fire for Tibet’s freedom, for the Buddha Dharma, for the happiness of all living beings and for world peace. “You must do as we have written – even if we are taken away by the Chinese. Do not do anything; we will be happy if nobody gets harmed because of us. Do not be sad for us; listen to scholars, lamas and khenpos. If you want to be scholars then make sure to take the right path, have affection for your race and by learning about our culture you must remain united. If you do all this then our wishes will be fulfilled. We earnestly hope that our wishes will be carried out.”
(Translated from Tibetan by Bhuchung D. Sonam)