New Delhi – A Tibetan youth born in India has died nine days after setting himself on fire to protest against China's illegal occupation of Tibet and Chinese ferocious policies towards Tibetan people.
Tenzin Choeying 19, a 3rd year student of Central University for Tibetan Studies, passed away on July 22, 2017, at 4:50 PM IST at Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi, India.
Choeying was moved from Heritage Hospital in Varanasi, where he was being treated for the past six days. He was rushed to New Delhi in critical condition and further treated at Safdarjung Hospital, where he died on Saturday evening. He courageously made it through the nights, but Delhi doctors later confirmed he was in critical condition with 90% burn. He makes involuntary movements and says incoherent words.
"Choeying's condition suddenly deteriorated" Friday morning after 10am, sources said, adding: "He was in critical condition. He keeps calling for his mother, uncle and keeps saying "Tibet"".
The 19-year-old said in his hospital bed in Varanasi he burned himself in self-immolation protest for "the country of Tibet" and till his death, he was repeatedly saying (Tib: Böd Gyal lo) "victory to Tibet."
In Varanasi, from the hospital bed he talked about the reason for his self -immolation. "Since I was a small boy I always wanted to do something for Tibet as Tibet is illegally occupied by Chinese government and the current policies of the Chinese government like wiping out Tibetan language and culture is another reason for my protest".
The student set himself on fire on July 14, 2017 at the Central University for Tibetan Studies in Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh state. Eyewitnesses said that Choeying shouted 'victory to Tibet' before running out, dousing himself with kerosene and setting himself on fire, injuring himself critically.
Son of father Ngawang Khedup and mother Tashi Yangzom, Choeying is the youngest of four siblings of the family. Tibetan Youth Congress, the largest Tibetan NGO based in exile Tibetan community working for a freedom and independence of Tibet, says "Choeying was an active member and he was protesting against China's illegal occupation of Tibet."
"Support, and messages of love are pouring in from all across the Tibetan community, and from non-Tibetans from around the world," said a Tibetan writer and activist, Tenzin Tsundue who is also a member of the Tibetan Youth Congress.
President of Central Tibetan Administration, Dr Lobsang Sangay during a prayer ceremony urged all Tibetans to pray for the Tibetan self-immolator and remembered for Choeying's sacrifice. " His sacrifice for the cause of Tibet is to be honoured. We echo and support his aspirations. But please remember the life of every Tibetan is precious and we must be alive to fight for our cause."
"In a free country, we have the freedom to embark on all possible methods to contribute to advancing our cause. One's life is too precious," the concerned President added.
Choeying was was the ninth Tibetan to mount such a protest outside Tibet. The first Tibetan self-immolation in the current wave of such protests was in exile – Thupten Ngodup set fire to himself in Delhi on April 28, 1998, as a hunger strike was being broken up by police in New Delhi. He later died in hospital.
On February 27, 2009, a Tibetan monk Tapey became the first Tibetan in Tibet to set fire to himself in the unprecedented wave of self-immolations across Tibet, brought the total verified number in the country to 149.
Tibet was invaded by the Communist regime in China, starting in 1949. Since that time, over 1.2 million out of 6 Tibetans died as a direct result of China's invasion and continued occupation of Tibet, over 6000 monasteries have been looted and destroyed— Crimes against Humanity and Genocide include murder, massacres, torture, rape, starvation, extreme deprivation, forced marches, enslavement, brutal violence, and systematic extermination. The communist regime continues to call this a 'peaceful liberation', that the "Tibetans are living in a Maoist socialist paradise."