As the standoff at Kirti Monastery in Sichuan’s Ngaba county intensifies, High Peaks Pure Earth translates a blog post by Woeser about the self-immolation which triggered the current situation, and which carries echoes of an earlier case from 2009.
On March 16 2008, when monks and lay people took to the streets in Amdo Ngaba and raised their voices in protest, among the many people that were killed by the state machinery were a pregnant women, a 5-year-old child and also a 16-year-old female middle school student, Lhundup Tso. Thus three years later on this day, many Tibetans commemorate the victims by lighting butter lamps in temples and at home. Phuntsog, a monk from Kirti monastery, commemorated by setting himself on fire.
On a sunny afternoon, he left the monastery that was under close surveillance by military police and walked on his own to the end of the sun-drenched road; here he suddenly went up in flames. From within the fireball he shouted: “Let His Holiness Return!” “Tibet must be free!” “Long live the Dalai Lama!” People gathered around watching in a state of shock, the entire street filled up with heavily armed special, ordinary, armed and plain-clothed police forces using clubs ferociously striking at Phuntsog; was this to extinguish the fire or to beat him? […]
Xinhua News Agency tried to portray Phuntsog as someone suffering from physical or mental illness, it tried to frame the monastery and monks as murderers. These phrases were also used on February 27 last year when Tapey, a monk from Kirti monastery set himself on fire on the street and was afterwards shot by the police. After many foreign media reported on this issue, Xinhua had to admit that “a man wearing robes” had indeed set himself on fire, but they did not admit that military police had shot at him. The doctor also denied that he had any bullet wounds, and instead claimed that his body only showed combustions. However, in reality the hospital wanted to amputate his leg and right arm after removing bullets from them to crush all evidence, but only because Tapey’s mother tried everything possible to prevent this from happening, they eventually could not carry out the amputation.
Woeser has also dedicated a poem to Lobsang Tsepak, another monk from Kirti Monastery who was detained on March 25th while studying in Beijing.
Today is already the twenty third day.
Yet on a certain day, I read a poem called “Disappeared”,
At once what I thought about was you.
You were disappeared on the afternoon of the 25th of last month,
I only have teardrops, write poems, have no other choices.
The full poem is available in translation at High Peaks Pure Earth.