The fifty-third (53) Tibetan to self-immolate died yesterday after setting himself on fire in protest in Nagchu county, Nagchu prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region, according to multiple Tibetan media outlets in exile citing sources in Tibet. Still aflame, Gudrub, a 43-year old writer from neighboring Driru county, called for freedom in Tibet and for the return of the Dalai Lama, according to Voice of America’s (VOA) Tibetan service.
VOA reported that a group of Tibetans transported Gudrub’s body to hospital, where authorities took him into their custody. A doctor later told the group that Gudrub had died, but authorities would not release his body.
In an article dated March 14, 2012 titled ‘The Sound of a Victorious Drum Beaten by Lives,’ Gudrub, who used the pen-name ‘Youth of the Snowland,’ points to China’s ongoing crackdown in Tibetan areas as “Tibetans who are concerned about the welfare of the people are subjected to arbitrary arrests and beatings. Tibetans who refuse to denounce His Holiness the Dalai Lama or accept China’s rule on Tibet are secretly killed or made to disappear.” As a result, Gudrub adds, Tibetans “are sharpening our nonviolent movement… declaring the reality of Tibet by burning our own bodies to call for freedom in Tibet.” (A translation of Gudrub’s article by VOA’s Tibetan Service appears below).
Gudrub was the second Tibetan to die after self-immolating in less than a week, with 27-year old Tibetan man named Yangdang setting himself on fire on September 29, 2012 in Dzato (Chinese: Zadou) county, Yushul (Chinese: Yushu) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai provice (Tibetan area of Kham).
According to Tibetans in exile in contact with Tibetans in the area, Yangdang set fire to himself along the main road in Dzato county town at around 7 pm, and shouted slogans calling for freedom in Tibet and for the return of the Dalai Lama and the Karmapa (a prominent Tibetan lama).
After onlookers, including local Chinese shop owners, were able to put out the flames with buckets of water, security forces cordoned off the area and took Yangdang’s body to the local hospital. The following day local authorities informed family members that Yangdang would be transferred to a hospital outside the Tibetan area due to his serious condition. However, local authorities later informed family members that Yangdang died while in transport. Authorities have yet to release Yangdang’s body to his family, according to the same sources.
According to Tibetans in the area in contact with Tibetans in exile, security in the area has been significantly increased following Yangdang’s self-immolation protest, with officials placing heavy restrictions on local travel.
Yangdang was born in Karma township in Chamdo county, Chamdo prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region, according to a Tibetan from the area now living in exile. It was believed that Yangdang was engaged in small business in the Dzato county area, according to the same source.
(For more information on the over 50 self-immolations that have taken place across Tibet since 2009, see ICT’s self-immolation fact sheet).
The following is a translation by Voice of America’s Tibetan Service of an article by Gudrub dating from March 14, 2012.
The Sound of a Victorious Drum Beaten by Lives
By Gudrub from Driru
March 14, 2012
The people of the Land of Snow (a traditional term for Tibet) share a common goal of bringing His Holiness the Dalai Lama back to an independent Tibet. But when His Holiness opted for autonomy for Tibet through nonviolent struggle, the six million Tibetans accepted his wishes. However, the Chinese government has not supported his proposal. Moreover, Tibetans who are concerned about the welfare of the people are subjected to arbitrary arrests and beatings. Tibetans who refuse to denounce His Holiness the Dalai Lama or accept China’s rule on Tibet are secretly killed or made to disappear.
Since China is uninterested in the well being of the Tibetan people, we are sharpening our nonviolent movement. We are declaring the reality of Tibet by burning our own bodies to call for freedom of Tibet. Higher beings, Please see Tibet. Mother earth, Extend compassion to Tibet. Just world, Uphold the truth.
The pure land of snow is now tainted with red blood, where military crackdowns are ceaseless. We as sons and daughters of the Land of Snow will win the battle. We will win the battle through truth, by shooting the arrows of our lives, by using the bow of our mind. Dear brothers and sisters of the Land of Snow, please unite together and prioritize the well being of all Tibetans by putting aside personal issues. We can only enjoy equality and freedom then.