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Friday, May 06 2016 @ 05:53 pm BST

China hands over ashes of deceased Kirti monk to family

The Chinese authorities on Tuesday handed over the ashes of the 21-year old Tibetan monk, Lobsang Tsultrum, to the latter’s family in Ngaba (Chinese: Aba) county, depriving the deceased a proper cremation according to Buddhist rites and rituals.

Lobsang Tsultrum, a monk at Kirti monastery set himself on fire on Monday (6 August) and died the same day around midnight at a hospital in Barkham (Chinese: Ma'erkang), capital of Ngaba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province.

“The Chinese authorities cremated the charred body, and returned the ashes Lobsang's family,”Kanyag Tsering, a monk at the India-based Kirti monastery, who has close contact with people in Ngaba said yesterday evening.

“They didn’t let the family cremate Lobsang's body, they just returned the ashes after cremating the charred body making the family very sad.”

Lobsang Tsultrum set himself on fire on the street below the Kirti monastery known as “Martyrs’ Street”, named so after a series of self-immolation protests took place there, Kanyag said.

The 21-year old monk had suffered beatings at the hands of the Chinese police during the 2008 uprising that rocked many areas in Tibet, including Ngaba. “Lobsang is fond of playing basketball and he is a member of a local team,” Kanyag quoted locals as saying.

He is the classmate of monk Phuntsok, who had succumbed to burn injuries in March 2011 after setting himself on fire demanding for 'freedom in Tibet' and 'return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet'.

According to the same source, Lobsang had shouted slogans for the ‘return the Dalai Lama and return of Kirti Rinpoche from exile.” Kanyag also said that Lobsang had also demanded the reopening of a school at Kirti monastery which was closed down by the authorities in 2003 after the school refused to teach Chinese language, and add exercise period as part of the school curriculum for the monk-students.

Citing sources in Tibet, Kanyag said Lobsang had left a note before setting himself on fire, but he is unable to retrieve it at the time of reporting this information.

“If the Chinese government has any respect and concern for Tibetan lives, they must address the underlying problems that cause these self-immolation protests,” said Tsering Tsomo, the executive director of Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, adding that “violent crackdown and criminalising the acts of self-immolation protests will not serve China's professed aim in establishing 'harmony' and 'stability' in Tibet.”

Lobsang Tsultrum became a monk at the Kirti Monastery since his childhood. He belonged to the family of Tchashang Raru Zadhar Tsang and is survived by his father, Tsewang and mother, Dolker Kyi.

Ngaba has been the nerve centre of the majority of Tibetan self-immolations, where more than two dozens of Tibetans have set themselves on fire since 2009.


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