Ven Tengha

November 26, 2017;

2017/ Ven Tengha, 65, monk self-immolated on November 26 in Kardze in Kham, in eastern Tibet. Reports are coming through that Ven Tengha shouted slogans calling for Tibetan freedom while carrying out his protest.

Reports and videos circulating online show that officials arrived on the scene and doused the flames before setting up extra police presence in the area. They took his body away and have not returned his remains to his family. The whereabouts of his family is unknown, and there is concern for them as family members of self-immolators are often detained or otherwise subjected to harassment.

Tengha comes from Dadho town in Kardze; he studied Buddhism at Kardze monastery for many years. He lost his parents when still a child; he has three siblings, two living in Lhasa and one in the United States. It is believed that he came to Amravati in India to attend the Kalachakra teachings in 2005.

He is the fifth person to self-immolate this year, and the 150th since the first in 2009.

In McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, a candle lit vigil took place organised by the Regional Tibetan Youth Congress, the Tibetan Women’s’ Association and Students for a Free Tibet while in London, England, the Tibetan community UK augmented their regular Wednesday night Lhakar(White Wednesday) vigil outside the Chinese embassy with a special protest in honour of Thenga, inviting people to come and “raise our voices against the ongoing human rights violations inside Tibet and other minority regions in China…let’s come together and make our voices heard”.

Sikyong Lobsang Sangay, President of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile, said, “It deeply concerns us to see Tibetans, young and old, men and women, monks and nuns self-immolate. Such sacrifices by Tibetans in Tibet evidences that repression in Tibet under the Chinese rule is making lives unlivable. Therefore it is time the Chinese Government heed to the calls of Tibetans in Tibet who long for freedom in Tibet and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama back to Tibet. China must address the legitimate grievances of people in Tibet. The issue of Tibet can be best resolved amicably through the middle way approach, by resuming dialogue with the Tibetan representatives.”

The Tibetan Government-in-exile held a prayer service for Tengha in Tsuglakhang, the main temple in McLeod Ganj,presided over by Lopon Thupten Choephel of Namgyal Monastery and attended by members of the Kashag (Cabinet) as well as other representatives of the government and members of the public. Sikyong Lobsang Sangay, President of the Government-in-Exile, speaking on behalf of the Kashag, expressed profound sadness, describing Tengha as a scholar. He said there have been at least 150 self-immolations in Tibet since 2009 but that not a single person has resorted to violence to protest against the oppressive Chinese regime in their country. He called on Chinese president Xi Jinping to reform China’s failed policies in Tibet and address the genuine grievances of the Tibetan people.

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