Tsering Dhondup, 35, set himself ablaze near a mining site today around 8:30 am in Amchok, in Sangchu (Chinese: Xiahe) county, Kanlho (Chinese: Gannan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Gansu province (the Tibetan area of Amdo).
Dhondup died at the scene of the protest and his body was handed over to his family. More than 300 monks are reported to have assembled to pray for Dhondup. There are also reports of hundreds of people arriving from nearby regions to pay respect and to offer scarves to Dhondup.
Dhondup was married to a Tibetan woman named Tamding Tso, and they have three children: Lhamo Kyi, 16, and LhaTruk, 15, and Lhamo Kyab, 8. He is also survived by his parents LhuBhum Gyal ,61, and mother Drukmo Tso, 52.
Sources say Dhondup was an honest and a good natured person who have repeatedly expressed wish for self-rule by Tibetans, the return of the Dalai Lama, Karmapa and Tibetans-in-exile back to Tibet, and release of all political prisoners including the Panchen Lama. Dhondup is also known to be an environmental advocate with concerns over Chinese mining in the region.
Dhondup is the second Tibetan to self-immolate in Amchok. On October 26, a 24-year-old Tibetan farmer and nomad Lhamo Tseten self-immolated in front of the local military base and township administration in Amchok. Since then, the area has been surrounded by security personnels which is now expected to intensify in the region.
Today’s protest brings the total number of self-immolations in November to sixteen. So far, at least 78 Tibetans have set themselves on fire since February 2009 to protest Chinese rule of Tibet. 64 are reported to have died after their self-immolation.