Rinchen was an appointed village leader who was well respected by local Tibetans and who spoke both Tibetan and Chinese. He leaves behind wife, Tabho, a son and a daughter, and a mother in her 80s.
Since February of 2009, at least 58 Tibetans have set themselves on fire to protest Chinese policies in Tibet. While the Tibetan government-in-exile says 47 of those cases have resulted in deaths, there are no confirmed cases of Chinese officials stopping a potential self-immolation by killing the would-be protester.
A 57-year-old Tibetan man from Sayue, a village located just outside Labrang, set himself on fire and died Tuesday afternoon. Dorjee Rinchen self-immolated himself near the local PLA recruiting center in Labrang at around 4:30 pm today.