Music Video Honors Tibetan Self-Immolators

High Peaks Pure Earth has translated the music video for “Patriotic Martyrs,” by Tibetan musician Jampel:

“Patriotic Martyrs” By Jampel from HPeaks on Vimeo.

High Peaks Pure Earth’s accompanying blog post offers further explanation of Jampel’s song:

The song “Patriotic Martyrs” is clearly about the self-immolations in Tibet with many references to fire and flames in the lyrics. The line “The courage of Thupten Ngodup” refers to the first Tibetan self-immolator. Thupten Ngodup self-immolated on April 27, 1998 in New Delhi, India, and died two days later. Interestingly, Thupten Ngodup was the only self-immolator to be mentioned by name in the last message of Lama Soepa who self-immolated on January 8, 2012: “To all the six million Tibetans – including those living in exile – I am grateful to Pawo Thupten Ngodup and all other Tibetan heroes who have sacrificed their lives for Tibet and for the reunification of the Tibetan people.”

The word “Pawo” means hero and is a title given to honour Tibetans who have sacrificed their lives. In this context, the title also connotes a martyr. In the song, Jampel specifically mentions both pawo (the male form) and pamo (the female form) but, for the sake of brevity, in our translation we have only used one English word “martyr” to include both the men and the women. [Source]

In a Washington Post blog post on “Patriotic Martyrs,” Max Fisher provides context on the ongoing wave of Tibetan protest by self-immolation:

A Tibetan singer from the Chinese province of Sichuan has released a song and musical video titled “Patriotic Martyrs” in tribute to Tibetan self-immolations, of which there have been 119 since 2009. The immolations, an increasingly severe problem for Beijing, are a form of political protest against China’s rule over Tibet and its restrictions on political and religious freedoms there.

[…]The self-immolations have been controversial within the Tibetan community itself, which extends well beyond the Tibet Autonomous Region into other Chinese provinces and parts of India, where the Tibetan government-in-exile is based. The Dalai Lama, who has struggled for years to negotiate Tibet’s fate directly with Beijing, has called the acts of protest “understandable” and encourages China to investigate what’s causing them but makes a point of not encouraging self-immolations. [Source]

Last month, Radio Free Asia reported on two Tibetan folk singers who, after being detained for six months, were sentenced to two years in prison for releasing a DVD with songs praising self-immolation. High Peaks Pure Earth has also translated videos by the two imprisoned artists. For more on Tibetan protest and self-immolation, see prior CDT coverage.


Subscribe to CDT


Browsers Unbounded by Lantern

Now, you can combat internet censorship in a new way: by toggling the switch below while browsing China Digital Times, you can provide a secure "bridge" for people who want to freely access information. This open-source project is powered by Lantern, know more about this project.

Google Ads 1

Giving Assistant

Google Ads 2

Anti-censorship Tools

Life Without Walls

Click on the image to download Firefly for circumvention

Open popup

Welcome back!

CDT is a non-profit media site, and we need your support. Your contribution will help us provide more translations, breaking news, and other content you love.