Burning For Freedom: Twin Self-Immolations in Tibet and Exile

Two separate self-immolations reportedly took place on Monday – one in Dehra Dun, northern India and the other in Kardze, eastern Tibet.

On February 29, around  4:00 p.m., Kalsang Wangdu, a young Tibetan monk from Retsokha Aryaling Monastery in Kardze, set himself on fire in the Kardze region of Nyagrong county. Witnesses present at the scene reported that Kalsang called for Tibet’s independence and some intervened to take him to a hospital in Chengdu for treatment. He ultimately succumbed to his injuries before they reached Chengdu and passed away.

On the same day, a young Tibetan student at the Tibetan Homes Foundation named Dorjee Tsering set himself on fire in Dehradun, India. Dorjee, 16 years old, also reportedly self-immolated in protest of Chinese rule in Tibet and was heard shouting slogans calling for Tibet’s freedom. According to exile sources, his mother said that he set himself on fire shortly after telling her that he wanted “to do something for our country.” Dorjee had repeatedly talked about “doing something for Tibet” and had allegedly, on one occasion, called his mother from his school to tell her that he would set himself on fire. On another occasion, he told her that he would “disappear after February.”

Dorjee is in critical condition, suffering 95 percent burns to his body and is currently being treated at Safdarjung Hospital in New Delhi. A gofundme has been set up to assist Dorjee’s family with his medical bills while he undergoes treatment. We ask that you please contribute as much as you are able.

Kalsang’s self-immolation brings the total number of self-immolations inside Tibet since 2009 to 144.


UPDATE: Dorjee Tsering passed away in the hospital on Thursday, March 3rd.

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