Twin self-immolation

Name: Dorje Tseten

Age: 19

Sex: Male

Profession: Chef

Date of Self-immolation: 27 May 2012

Location: Outside the Jokhang Temple, Lhasa, Tibet

Current whereabouts/wellbeing: Deceased 27 May

His slogans: Not reported

Name: Dhargey

Age: 25

Sex: Male

Profession: Cashier at a restaurant

Date of Self-immolation: 27 May 2012

Location: Outside the Jokhang Temple, Lhasa, Tibet

Current whereabouts/wellbeing: Deceased 7 July

His slogans: Not reported

Dorje – a 19-year-old high school graduate – and his friend Dhargey stepped out of their rented room near the Jokhang at around 2:15 pm (local time) on 27 May 2012 and set themselves on fire. According to an eyewitness report, “Enveloped in towering flames, one of them ran to the flagpole in front of the Jokhang Temple and fell down while the other took around ten steps and fell on the ground.”

These were the first immolations to take place in the capital. Within minutes, armed security forces arrived at the scene, doused the flames and dragged the two youths away and cleaned up leaving no trace of the incident at the site. Dorje is understood to have died at the scene of the protest whilst the condition of Dhargey was unclear at the time. Sources confirmed on 8 July that Dhargey passed away on July 7 at 6.40 pm (local time). The same source added that Dhargey was brought to a police hospital near Sera Monastery with 60 per cent burns immediately after his fiery protest. Dorje Tseten’s family was not given his body back, preventing them from carryingdhargye dorjeetseten out traditional prayer ceremonies and death rituals. They subsequently received ashes from the Chinese government authorities, although it cannot be established that they were those of Dorje Tseten. Originally from Eastern Tibet, Dorje was from Bora in Amdo and Dhargey from Soruma village in the Choejema Township of Ngaba County. Dorje and Dhargey both worked at a restaurant in Lhasa owned by the Chukeytsang’s — a trading family originally from Ngaba. A source reported that following the self-immolations the restaurant owner, his wife and six members of the area’s Ngaba Community Association were detained. Xinhua, China’s State news agency, confirmed the self-immolations and said the two men had been taken to hospital where Dorje (identified as Tobgye Tseten by Xinhua) later died. Xinhua reported that Dhargey had “survived with injuries”. Dhargey’s father, Lodey, reportedly went to Lhasa but was not allowed to meet his son. The youngest of six children, Dhargey joined Kirti Monastery at a young age, and later disrobed and worked as a cashier at the restaurant in Lhasa. These self-immolations took place during Saga Dawa, a major religious festival for Tibetan Buddhists commemorating the Buddha Sakyamuni’s birth, enlightenment and passing. The increased presence of PLA paramilitary forces and armed police has put Lhasa on high alert since March 2008 when protests against Chinese rule erupted across Tibet and rocked the capital