Tsultrim Gyatso, 43, self-immolated at a road junction in Sangchu (in Chinese, Xiahe) county in the Kanlho (Gannan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture after penning his one-page suicide note at his monastery in which he also called for the return of the exiled Tibetan spirtual leader the Dalai Lama, the sources in the area said.
“Before his self-immolation at a cross-section in Sangchu, he went to his room after lunch break, lit a lamp, opened a book on the teachings of Buddha and wrote his one-page suicide note,” a Tibetan lecturer at the Dalai Lama Institute for Higher Education (DLIHE) in Bangalore, India, told RFA’s Tibetan Service.
“Tibetan treasures of gold and silver have been looted under suppressive Chinese law,” Gyatso said in his note, according to the lecturer, citing contacts in the region. “All citizens are driven to sufferings,” Gyatso said.
“Tears drop from my eyes when I dwell on this state of sufferings [of the Tibetans],” according to Gyatso’s note. “For the return of the Dalai Lama, and the release of the Panchen Lama, and the well being of six million Tibetans, I sacrifice my precious life in self-immolation.” [Source]
Xinhua confirmed the death on their English Twitter feed, without providing any details:
A 43-year-old Tibetan monk committed self-immolation Thursday afternoon in northwest China's Gansu Province, local authorities said.
— Xinhua News Agency (@XHNews) December 19, 2013
After his death, more than 400 monks conducted funeral prayers, but were ordered to stop by police, according to the RFA report. Tsultrim Gyatso is the 125th person to commit self-immolation since 2009 in protest against Beijing’s policies in Tibetan regions. The last reported self-immolation was on December 4 by a 30-year-old father of two in Aba (Ngaba) County, Sichuan. In a recent talk, University of Colorado at Boulder Professor Carole McGranahan explains the history and significance of self-immolation as an act of protest in Tibetan Buddhism and discusses recent cases:
Read more about the current situation in Tibet and about the government’s efforts to control and define the narrative of Tibetans’ experience. See also more about past self-immolations, via CDT.