Nyima Yangkyi lost her 16 year old son, Dorjee Tsering, who set himself on fire to protest the Chinese occupation in Tibet. At his funeral in Dharamsala, the woman appealed to the young people: "You have many ways to serve your country and the Dalai Lama, our great spiritual leader. You have to study, you have to work for our country. But do not set yourselves on fire! I appeal to all of you: stay alive".
Dharamsala (AsiaNews) - Young Tibetans "have many ways to serve their country and the Dalai Lama, our great spiritual leader. You have to study, you have to work for our country. But do not self-immolate! I appeal to you all: stay alive. I am a simple housewife and do not know much of the world, but it was important for me to tell you this": These were the words with which a mother, Tsering Dorjee, brought to an end the funeral service for her son, a young man of 16 who set himself on fire last February 29 to protest against the Chinese invasion of Tibet.
The boy died after three days of agony. From a hospital in Delhi, where he had been hospitalized after the protest, his body was transported to Dharamsala for the funeral. This is where the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in exile live, a kind of "foreign capital" for the Buddhist diaspora. His mother, Nyima Yangkyi, appeared devastated in front of hundreds of young people gathered for the funeral, wom she told: "really listen to our spiritual leaders, listen to his wishes. Have good intentions and stay alive".
Recounting the final days of her child's life, she recalled how he had to be moved to three different hospitals due to the lack of health facilities: "The last transfer took us almost an hour. He asked for water, but above all he wanted to be covered. He did not want me to look him in that state. I told him that soon they would give him the painkillers, and he said to me: 'You know I'm strong, right? I'm fine, just do not look at me. It was heartbreaking".
Tenzing Jigme, president of the Tibetan Youth Congress, was united with the woman's appeal: "The death of Dorjee Tsering is an immeasurable sacrifice. It is very hard to tell people what to do and what not to do, especially to those living in Tibet who undergo daily repression. However, I too appeal to our young people to consider other ways to contribute to the cause of Tibet. Your lives are precious".
The death of the young man brings to 145 the number of victims who have self-immolated since 2009 in protest against Chinese policy in the region. For his part, the Dalai Lama has repeatedly urged his followers not to sacrifice their lives but to "find other forms of protest." However, Beijing accuses the religious leaders of fomenting these acts "for his personal gain."