29. Lobsang Tsultrim

His slogans were: for the Dalai Lama’s return from exile and freedom for Tibet

Name: Lobsang Tsultrim

Age: 20

Sex: Male

Profession: Monk at Kirti Monastery

Date of Self-immolation: 16 March 2012, 5 pm (local time)

Location: Ngaba County town, Amdo, Northeastern Tibet

Current whereabouts/wellbeing: Deceased, 19 March 2012

Marking the first anniversary of self-immolation by Phuntsok, a fellow Kirti monk, Lobsang Tsultrim set himself on fire demanding the return of His Holiness the Dalobsangtsuiltrimlai Lama from exile and freedom in Tibet. After igniting himself, Tsultrim proceeded to march along the main road in the upper part of Ngaba County town, shouting slogans protesting against the Chinese government. Eyewitnesses said that as he strode on from the site of his self-immolation, armed police personnel came running to intercept him, at which he turned and ran back in the other direction, continuing to shout. He was knocked to the ground by Chinese security personnel and thrown into the back of a vehicle after they had extinguished the flames. He was seen raising his fist in the air and shouting slogans even as Chinese security personnel pinned him to the floor of the moving vehicle.

Lobsang died three days later in a hospital in Barkham. According to the exilebased Kirti Monastery in Dharamshala, local Chinese authorities denied Lobsang Tsultrim’s family permission to perform his last rites and they cremated him the same day. “Only a portion of his ashes was handed over to the family,” said the Kirti statement. On 19 March Kirti monks held a prayer ceremony for him and local shops and restaurants owned by Tibetans remained closed for three days. Tsultrim was a bright student of Kirti Tantric College and was the eldest of four siblings. Norbu Damdul — a former Kirti monk who self-immolated on 15 October 2011 and passed away in a Chinese hospital on 5 January 2012 — was Lobsang Tsultrim’s cousin.

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