A 16-year old Tibetan schoolboy, Dorjee Tsering, has died after setting himself on fire on Monday in India. In Tibet on the same day, according to Radio Free Asia, an 18-year old monk, Kalsang Wangdu, set himself on fire and died.

Dorjee Tsering, who lived on a Tibetan settlement in northern India, set himself on fire in Dehra Dun on February 29 after visiting his grandfather. According to some witnesses, he called out ‘Free Tibet’ as he set himself alight. While he survived the protest, he suffered 95% burns to his body and was taken to a hospital in Delhi where he died on March 3.

Before he died, Dorjee Tsering, who was at Tibetan Homes Foundation school in Mussoorie, recorded two videos in which he speaks through an oxygen mask from his hospital bed. He said in one of the statements[1] that:

“I have had a strong determination to do something for Tibet since my childhood. Since I did not fare well in my Grade 10 exams this year, I was much saddened that there was nothing else I could do for the Tibetan issue other than self-immolation…. It seems the oil that I put on my body was not enough for it to burn completely… Finally I would like to pray: May His Holiness the Dalai Lama live long and may Tibet soon gain its independence. Victory for Tibet!”

In another statement from his hospital bed posted by Voice of Tibet, he said: “My name is Dorjee Tsering. I am a 16 year old student of Tibetan Children’s Village, Mussoorie. In 1959, China occupied our Tibet. This caused Tibetans to become fragmented..some are in Tibet, some in exile and other countries. I have had a strong determination to do something for Tibet since my childhood. [Struggles to speak]. I thought that if I could finish Class Ten well… but because I couldn’t finish as well as I expected, I thought if there is something I can do for Tibet, the only option would be to burn my body. I bought kerosene and matches and burned myself. It seems the oil put on my body was not enough to burn completely, only the outside and not much damage to my body internally. I did think about my parents and family at first. In the past I asked my father and mother many times how it would be if I self-immolated. My parents would always say that they would feel very sad, so sad that they would die. But I’ve let both parents go for the sake of Tibet. Finally I want to say, long live His Holiness and I pray that may Tibet gain independence as soon as possible. Victory for Tibet.”[2]

The death of Kalsang Wangdu in Tibet after self-immolation

The Tibetan Service of Radio Free Asia reported the death of 18-year old monk Kalsang Wangdu, after setting himself on fire on February 29 in Nyarong (Chinese: Xinlong) County in Kardze (Chinese: Ganzi), the Tibetan area of Kham. “[While he burned], he called out for Tibet’s complete independence,” a Tibetan source told RFA, adding that witnesses to Wangdu’s protest “intervened,” intending to take him to Sichuan’s provincial capital for treatment, but he died on the way. Kalsang Wangdu carried out his self-immolation around 4pm by his monastery, the Maretsokha Aryaling monastery, according to RFA (March 1, 2016, http://www.rfa.org/english/news/tibet/burns-03012016164905.html).

[1] Posted online by Radio Free Asia and Free Tibet at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69amP8Rg66A

[2] Uploaded at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_KyEMXkmONc and translated into English by Free Tibet