Twin self-immolation

Name: Tenzin Khedup

Age: 24

Sex: Male

Profession: Nomad

Date of Self-immolation: 20 June 2012, 3:30 pm (local time)

Location: Dzatoe Township in Tridu County, Yushul, Kham, Eastern Tibet

Current whereabouts/wellbeing: Deceased same day

Name: Ngawang Norphel

Age: 22

Sex: Male

Profession: Nomad

Date of Self-immolation: 20 June 2012, 3:30 pm (local time)

Location: Dzatoe Township in Tridu County, Yushul, Kham, Eastern Tibet

Current whereabouts/wellbeing: Deceased 30 July

His slogans and Last Testament: called for the Independence of Tibet and the long life of HH the Dalai Lama

In a seven minute clandestine video clip, Ngawang Norphel and Tenzin Khedup can be seen standing next to each other in the middle of a street in Dzatoe town between parked bikes and cars, raising the banned Tibetan national flag seconds before the flames engulf their bodies. While one of them immediately falls to the ground, the second one tries to stand up and runs a few meters before he collapses again. While Tenzin Khedup passed away at the site of the protest, Ngawang at the time was badly burned and reportedly in a serious condition. Local Tibetans took the body of Tenzin Khedup to Zilkar Monastery in Tridu County where they held prayers for him. Tenzin Khedup was the son of Lekdup and Kyizom and had been a monk at Zilkar Monastery before disrobing in 2006. Videos smuggled out of Tibet show Ngawang Norphel in a bed being nursed by monks while he talks to camera. Ngawang’s father Lhakpa Dhondup found out about his son’s condition almost a month after his sacrifice. He had heard that his son was hospitalized but had no information whatsoever and only found out when he saw him in the hospital. Ngawang’s attempts to talk were discouraged when Chinese officials came to interrogate him whenever he tried to utter even a few words. According to his relative in exile, “he gradually stopped talking”. More than a month after their protest, information from Tibet confirmed that Ngawang Norphel finally passed away on 30 July around 3:30 pm in a Chinese hospital in Tsongon in Amdo. Ngawang Norphel was from Nyalam in Shigatse, Central Tibet and not Ngaba as mistakenly reported earlier. He is survived by his parents Lhakpa Dhondup and Tsering Yangchen. Their slogans and Last Testament: “Independence for Tibet! His Holiness Must Return to Tibet! The two of us cannot contribute anything towards Tibetan culture and religion nor can we do anything to benefit Tibetans in financial terms. Hence, the only ngawangnorphel tenzinkhedupthing that we can do for Tibetans, the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and for his return to Tibet, is to set ourselves on fire. We would like to urge other Tibetan youths like us to pledge that you will never engage in such acts as fighting amongst yourselves; instead you must remain united. We have hope and faith that you will maintain loyalty among all the Tibetans.”
(Translated from Tibetan by Bhuchung D. Sonam)