Dharamshala: Observing the loss of the most recent Tibetan to self-immolate: Tsewang Dorjee (aged 22), the exile community of Dharamshala joined together on the evening of July 10th to contemplate, mark and remember the tragic loss of the yet another young life. The crowd gathered at the main square numbered over one-hundred in a moving candlelight vigil organized by the Tibetan Women's Association, and the Tibetan Youth Congress.
Reports have emerged that Tsewang Dorjee self-immolated in the middle of Damshung district market at around one o'clock in the afternoon on July 7th, just a day after the birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Despite widespread bans on information leaks by the Chinese authorities, sources suggest that Tsweang has been taken to the district hospital by authorities, having suffered 90% burns. The Chinese authorities have furthermore created a draconian black-out of telephone communications in the region.
Addressing the crowd in the main square in Dharamshala, Tenzin Tsundue; exiled Tibetan writer and activist based in the community, gave an impassioned speech to the gathered crowd:
"As our brothers and sisters of Tibetans are setting themselves on fire in protest [of the] Chinese brutal regime in Tibet...we are standing in solidarity with our brothers and sisters, and also of protest against the Chinese regime in our country. Tibetans want freedom in Tibet, they want the return of His Holiness theDalai Lama to Tibet. These are the two main slogans coming from those who are self-immolating".
Tsundue highlighted the need to address the trade links between the West and China, and how the personal money of Westerners who buy Chinese goods are directly funding those who oppress Tibetans.
"China is now breathing down the neck of India, today China is building so many military structures in Tibet...Indians, and all of us around the world, must be united against China"
"We must not appease the dragon".
The number of Tibetans who have self-immolated in protest against Chinese rule has risen to a staggering 45. In a statement marking the vigil, Tsering Yanchen, Vice President of the regional Tibetans Youth Congress highlighted:
"As the count of self-immolations increases, the pressure rises on Hu Jianto's government who is already so insecure in Tibet and has completely lost confidence of the people they are ruling over. The international community who trade with China must bear responsibility to increasing suffering of the Tibetans in Chinese occupied Tibet".