Dharamshala — Democratically elected President of the Tibetan government in exile (CTA), Dr Lobsang Sangay made a statement discouraging self immolation protests, pleading for Tibetans in exile to pursue more powerful means of contributing to the Tibetan cause.
“While we understand the intention behind the act of self-immolation, we must remember that the life of every Tibetan is precious and that 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 substantially to advancing our cause. The life of every six million Tibetan is precious and every life lost is a huge loss for us and for our cause,” the President said to the press at the prayer service for Pasang Dhondup, a Tibetan who self-immolated just last Saturday, and ultimately succumbed to his injuries.
President further said Kashag (the President's cabinet of Secretaries) is considering not to attend prayer meetings in the future for self immolation protests in exile.
“As a Tibetan and a Buddhist, we are here to offer prayers for the deceased, but the Kashag has consistently and categorically discouraged self-immolation, especially in exile where Tibetans have the complete freedom to pursue any meaningful means that would contribute to the Tibetan cause.
“While we understand the plight of Tibetans inside Tibet and the situation under which they have to resort to such actions, Tibetans in exile have the freedom to participate in protests in any form one chooses to do. We have had other cases of self immolation in exile; parents of the self-immolators have voiced the same concern and have urged the youth to pursue more powerful means such as education.
“We therefore discourage all Tibetans, especially the youth in exile from resorting to such drastic actions and urge them to pursue more powerful means to substantially contribute to the Tibetan cause.” the President said.
“There are other numerous means to make meaningful contribution to the cause. First is education; focus on achieving excellence in your educational field, become a resourceful member of the community and go on to represent Tibet in governments and parliaments around the world.
“Second, preserve Tibetan identity, language and culture. Third, be a part of various NGOs and organize activities to garner support and awareness on the Tibetan issue. Even in schools, one can organize awareness events such as panel discussion, art and literary festivals and educate people on Tibet.
“One can also write articles on Tibet or even organize a march for Tibet. There are multiple opportunities for us to contribute to the Tibetan movement, without resorting to self-immolation,” the President concluded.
Pasang Dhondup’s body was cremated this morning following a prayer service.
Despite the repeated appeals to Tibetans not to resort to drastic measures such as self-immolation as a means of protest against Chinese rule, 150 Tibetans inside Tibet and 10 Tibetans in exile have set themselves on fire.