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8december20092Dharamsala: Last night, December 7, 2009, over 200 Tibetans including foreigners participated in a candlelight march in McLeod Ganj. The march was in memory of a thirty-three year-old nun named Yankyi Dolma, who died in a hospital in Chengdu, SIchuan Province, China early Sunday morning.

The march was organized by the Tibetan Women's Association, Students for a Free Tibet, the National Democratic Party of Tibet, and the Gu Chu Sum Movement. It began at 5:30 p.m. near the McLeod Ganj bus station, where members of different organizations handed out candles and pieces of paper that described the death of Yankyi Dolma.

Yankyi Dolma was a nun of the Kardze nunnery. She and another nun were arrested on March 24, 2009 for participating in a non-violent protest against the Chinese government at Kardze Square, eatern Tibet. The paper that was handed out at the march noted that Yankyi Dolma died due to injuries that she received during her imprisonment.

The paper also stated, "Around 50 armed soldiers beat up the two nuns severely and took them away in a waiting van. Authorities later that night ransacked her home, and took away photographs of the exiled Tibetan leader, the Dalai Lama, their statement added. Her parents and family members were rebuked for having links with the ‘exile separatist forces of the Dalai Lama.' The Chinese authorities summoned her brother, Tsangyang Gyatso, to the local administrative office the next day, and questioned him for hours."

8december20091It was reported that Yankyi Dolma was taken to Kardze Intermediate People's Court on August 24, 2009, but it is not known whether she had received a sentence at the time of her death.

The candlelight march ended at the temple of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, where people set their candles on the concrete steps, and listened to a speech from Tehor Choeying, a young monk who recently escaped from Tibet, and is residing at Gu Chu Sum. He reported the news of Yankyi Dolma's death to organizations in McCleod Ganj upon his arrival.

Afterwards, Tenzin Choeying, the national director of Students for a Free Tibet, briefly paraphrased Tehor Choeying's words in English. He said that the Tibetan community in exile must be the "voice of the voiceless," and asked foreigners that were present to bring awareness of the situation in Tibet to their countries. He vowed to continue the non-violent struggle against the Chinese oppression in Tibet, and to convey the "reality that Tibetans are dying," to the outside world.

The ceremony at the temple included a moment of silence in honor of Yankyi Dolma, and ended with a Buddhist prayer that was sung.

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