Tibetan mother who self-immolated wrote note calling for long life of Dalai Lama

A Tibetan mother of two who set fire to herself and died last week outside a government office left a note calling for the long life of the Dalai Lama, according to Tibetan sources.

Before she set herself on fire, Sangye Tso, 36, had written: “Long live His Holiness the Dalai Lama, where is the Panchen Lama, and freedom for Tibetans[1]“, according to a Tibetan source. The same source said that she displayed a photograph of the Dalai Lama and lit incense before it at the site of her self-immolation, which was outside a government and police building (ICT report, Tibetan mother of two sets fire to herself outside government building.

Another Tibetan source said that a couple of local elderly people who were circumambulating the monastery saw flames in the area, but didn’t think it was a person – they thought it was something being burned. When they approached more closely, police also came out of the building and took away Sangye Tso, who had died in the blaze.

The local authorities have warned the family that they are not allowed to organize any religious service for Sangye Tso, and have detained at least one of her relatives, including one who is a monk at the monastery in the town.

Tibetan sources have provided further details about Sangye Tso’s background. She travelled to Lhasa in 2003, and married Tamding Dorjee, the father of two children, and they returned to Chone county in 2006. The couple opened a restaurant, a shop and hotel but were thought to have experienced problems with local Chinese that led them to move and establish a new business in Nagchu (Chinese: Naqu), the Tibet Autonomous Region. The couple owned two properties in Chone and also a business in Labrang (Xiahe). Their children were staying with their grandfather for education. Sangye Tso had recently returned from Nagchu.

Footnotes
[1] The exact wording of the note is unclear; one source said that instead of the word ‘freedom’, she used ‘human rights’.

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