A 19-year old Tibetan who was known as one of the brightest students at his school died after self-immolating in front of a monastery in Tsoe (Chinese: Hezuo) in the Kanlho (Gannan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu on Saturday (November 10). The death was quickly confirmed by the Chinese state media.

Gonpo Tsering, who had married last year, called for freedom for Tibetans, the protection of the Tibetan language, and for the Dalai Lama to be brought back to Tibet. According to Tibetan sources in exile, monks gathered at the scene and tried to extinguish the flames but failed. They took his body back to his village and prayed for him there.

Gonpo Tsering was from Ked village in Lushod, Ngagod township, Gannan. He went to Lushod primary school from the age of 11, and left school in the second year of his middle school. According to Tibetans who knew him, when at school, Gonpo Tsering was always top of his class and received a number of prizes. A Tibetan in exile who spoke to Tibetans who knew him said: “Gonpo Tsering was a person with a lot of humanity and had a really positive attitude all the time. He was involved in a comedy sketch relating to education a few months ago and people were really affected by his commitment and actions.” He left school to get married in 2011.

Gonpo Tsering had dinner with his family as usual on Friday evening (November 9) and did not appear to be any different to usual. On November 10, he said that he wanted to go to the monastery for pilgrimage, and went there on his motorbike early that morning.