Thousands Attend Funeral of Tibetan Who Set Himself Alight in India
Thousands of people on Friday attended the funeral of the Tibetan man who had set himself on fire on Monday in the capital of India, New Delhi, days before a summit of the BRICS countries, Brazil, Russia, Indian, China and South Africa, which is attended by the Chinese president Hu Jintao.
Jamphel Yeshi’s coffin was placed on a specially designed state outside a temple in the northern city of Dharmsala, the headquarters of the Tibetan government in exile. A Tibetan flag was covering the coffin and people threw traditional silk scarves on it.
The funeral began with the Tibetan national anthem, and was followed by prayers. Then his body was carried to a crematorium, where Tibetan rituals were performed. The people who accompanied the coffin chanted and shouted “May Martyr Jamphel Yeshi’s name be immortal.”
At the crematorium people chanted prayers as the body was being placed on a platform, and clarified butter and aromatic herbs were poured on the body, which was then covered with a white sheet. The fire was lit by a member of the Tibetan Youth Congress.
Yeshi set himself on fire on Monday and was taken to the hospital after the Tibetans who were present at the moment of his protest attempted to put the fire out. He died on Wednesday in an hospital in New Delhi, as a result of the extended 98 percent of the body burnt.
He left behind a letter in which he was explaining that he had protested for the freedom of Tibet and urged the Tibetan to continue the fight for freedom, and the international community to become aware of the Tibetan suffering in the provinces that are governed by China.
30 self-immolations were executed over the last year, most of the people who chose to protest this way dying as a result of the extended burns. The government in Beijing accuses the protesters of disturbing peace and harmony in the society, and blame Dalai Lama directly for being the instigator of such actions, even though the spiritual leader of Tibet has expressed on many occasion his attitude toward this form of protest, which he considers an act of irreverence toward the sanctity of life.
A smear campaign is being conducted by Beijing against him as the tension escalates in the provinces with majority Tibetan population, Dalai Lama being accused among other things that he wants to expel the Han Chinese from Tibet, a practice deemed by the pro-governmental media as Nazi-inspired.
Tibetans complain that the Han Chinese are being brought to their land to colonize and change the ethnic balance of the province. They also claim that their freedom to follow the teachings of their religion is being suppressed and the access to their own culture is being blocked.
But the most important claim the Tibetans have is that their leadership must stay in exile, as the Communist regime does not appreciate the cooperation with Dalai Lama, whom they see as the most dangerous man for the territorial integrity of China.
A large unrest occurred in Tibet in 2008, as a series of riots, demonstrations and protests started in the capital of Tibet, Lhasa and spread throughout the zones inhabited by Tibetans, including outside Tibet proper.
The protest then began as a observance day of Tibetan Uprising Day, which is annually observed on March 10, and commemorates the uprising in Tibet in 1959, which triggered the response of the Chinese authorities and the necessity for Dalai Lama to flee the country.
In 2008, Tibetan Uprising Day escalated in a series of riots and protests of the monks, burning, looting and killing by March 14. The protests were directed against the Han Chinese, and were put down by the police, which intervened. The protest erupted all over the world, and 18 Chinese embassies were attacked on that occasion.
The Chinese authorities blamed the riots on Dalai Lama and said that the reason for them was separatism. Dalai Lama and China held talks on the subject in May and July the same year. As many as 38 people were said to have lost their lives during the protest. A violent crackdown was unleashed by authorities, who feared that the protest would affect the Olympics, hosted that year by China.
The protests in March 2008 were the most serious ones since 1959, and the surge of unrest in the territories in 2011 is a reason for the Chinese authorities to be very sensitive about it.
They have focused their attention on the Dalai Lama, and spent a lot of resources to make friendly-media outlets like China Tibet Online convince the Chinese and the world that Dalai Lama is being loathed by the entire world, which is hardly the case, considering that the iconic leader received the Nobel Prize in 1989, and the Templeton annual Prize in 2012, being honored by other international community in many ways.
Dalai Lama is considered one of the most referential men of the century, a supporter of peace and compassion, a passionate for science and technology, a democratic leader that fostered the democratic rule of his people.
In 2011, Dalai Lama relinquished his political power to an elected government and dedicated himself to spiritual matters. The move was not enough for the Chinese authorities, which announced that they would not recognize a new Dalai Lama, when this one dies.
This has compelled Dalai Lama to even take into account the idea of ending the tradition of Dalai Lamas with him. He did say he would leave very clear instructions about his next reincarnation, if he decided to have one.11