48. Dolkar Tso

Her slogans: “Free Tibet”, “Return His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet”

Name: Dolkar Tso

Age: 27

Sex: Female

Profession: Farmer

Date of Self-immolation: 7 August 2012, 2:30 pm (local time)

Location: Near Tsoe Gaden Choeling Monastery , Amdo, Northeastern Tibet

Current whereabouts/wellbeing: Deceased

Dolkar Tso — who hails from a farming family and is the mother of a five-year-old daughter and two year-old son set fire to herself near Tsoe Monastery in Gansu’s Kanlho Prefecture. Immediately after extinguishing the flames, monks at Tsoe Monastery carried Dolkar’s charred body inside the monastery premises. According to reports then emerging from Tibet, Dolkar Tso — barely alive — had pleaded with the monks to hit her on the head with a stone and kill her so that she would not fall alive into Chinese hands. Dolkar succumbed naturally to her injuries. Later, the monks carried her body around 10 km from Tsoe back to Tasur in Nawu Township, the village where she was born.

Later that night the Chinese authorities arrestedolkartsod three Tsoe Monastery monks — Choephel, Sherab and Tsondru — allegedly for sheltering her body inside the monastery. Tsondru was subsequently released. Around 5 am the following morning, Chinese security personnel in about a dozen vehicles arrived at the monastery and arrested 17 more monks. A large number of monks and laymen amassed at the monastery in an attempt to prevent the arrests and also to demand the release of the two monks detained earlier. When news of Dolkar Tso’s action spread, about 300 monks from nearby Labrang Tashikhyil Monastery set out in a large convoy of vehicles to offer prayers and pay their last respects to her, but they were apprehended by the local Chinese authorities. The authorities reportedly told the monks that their actions were illegal and warned that their vehicles would be confiscated if they proceeded further. They were also threatened with further punitive measures. However, the monks defied police orders and declared that they would continue on foot if they had to and warned of a major uprising if they were stopped. As tension began to flare, representatives of Labrang’s administration came and pleaded with the monks to stop their march. Being forced to obey to the requests, the monks instead sat down on the road and started offering prayers for Dolkar Tso. On 9 November 2012 reports emerged that Dhonue, the husband of Dolkar Tso, was secretly detained by Chinese security personnel after he rejected a bribe offered by the local Chinese authorities. According to sources, the Gansu administration was forcing him to state that his wife self-immolated owing to family disputes and not as a protest against China’s rule.

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