Her Slogans: “Long Life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama”, “Independence for Tibet and “May Tibetan people prevail for tens of thousands of years”
Name: Bhenchen Kyi
Date of Self-immolation: 9 December 2012, 8 pm (local time)
Location: Dokarmo Region of Tsekhog, Rebkong County, Amdo
Current whereabouts/wellbeing: Deceased
On the eve of International Human Rights Day, a teenage schoolgirl, Bhenchen Kyi, set herself on fire calling for an end to China’s ongoing occupation of Tibet and a long life for Tibet’s spiritual leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Bhenchen Kyi passed away at the site of her protest. Subsequent to her self-immolation, local Tibetans managed to prevent her body from falling into the hands of the Chinese authorities. According to an informant in exile, “Around two thousand Tibetans gathered at the site of her protest and raised slogans calling for His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s long life and reciting his long life prayers. The crowd was emotionally charged and many of them were crying,” the source added. Bhenchen Kyi was cremated around 12:15 next morning in the presence of her family members. Tibetan people from nearby started to rush to her cremation ceremony after hearing the news of her self-sacrifice. Approximately three thousand people were reportedly present at the funeral to pay their last respects. Prior to her action, Bhenchen Kyi had vowed she would self-immolate for the cause of Tibet and had further stated that she would carry out her action in a nomadic area populated by Tibetans, and not in a town centre, so that her parents could have access to her dead body. “I don’t want the Chinese authorities to take away my body,” Bhenchen Kyi had reportedly said. She is survived by her parents, Sonam Tsering and Sermo, and two siblings.