Yungdrun, who on September 29th at around 7pm set himself alight in the town of Toegey: Dzatoe (Eastern Tibet) reportedly called for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to, an ending to mining in Tibet, and for a free homeland. Despite being rushed to hospital, the 27 year old has since succumbed to his injuries.
In reaction to the news, the Tibetan exile community held a candlelight vigil to mark the death of Yungdrun. Hundreds of peaceful protestors lined the streets of Dharamshala, holding candles, Tibetan flags and images of the Dalai Lama on the evening of September 30th 2012.
Having circulated the Main Square and adjacent streets, the community marched down to the main temple (Tsuklakang) for a series of speeches, and a minute of silence and remembrance; reciting Buddhist prayers and mantras as they walked.
Amid a series of speeches to the gathering, Tibetan activist and poet Tenzin Tsundue warned against international trading with China; highlighting the dangers of the global community remaining largely silent amid the deepening crisis. Tsundue re-iterated the stark risk of the two global superpowers: China and India, sharing borders without the expanse of Tibet to separate the two economical giants.
In an interview for the Tibet Post International, Dorjee Tsetan, Director of Students for a Free Tibet India, explained the situation in the region - stating that according to reports: ‘On September 29th at around 7pm the young man, Yangdrun, aged 27, self-immolated in the town of Toegey, Dzatoe: Eastern Tibet'. Dorjee emphasised the need for international intervention into the worsening crisis in Tibet, which has witnessed over 50 self-immolations since 2009.
The exile community has not remained silent in response to the situation on the Tibetan plateau. Vigils, which are attended by hundreds and now attract the attention of global media, act as a peaceful, powerful response from exile to the deepening crisis in Tibet.