Official resolution of mourning, honouring, and remembrance
Patriotically inspired heroic men and women in Tibet have raised the two main slogans of “Invite His Holiness the Dalai Lama to return to Tibet; give the Tibetan people freedom and human rights”. A section of them have also raised slogans exhorting Tibetan independence and nationhood. With these slogans they have immolated themselves in acts of protest for the sake of Tibet and the Tibetan people. In that respect, since 27 February 2009, when Tabey, a 27 year old monk of Tibet’s Ngaba County, set himself on fire, until 29 February 2016, a total of at least 143 Tibetan martyrs had immolated themselves. For them the Tibetan Parliament in Exile has, during successive sessions until the 11th session of the 15th Parliament, adopted official resolutions of mourning, honouring, and remembrance. Self-immolation protests did not stop after that, however, and on 23 March 2016, an about 50 year old woman named Sonam Tso became the 144th Tibetan in Tibet to self-immolate. She set herself on fire and died on the circuit of the Akyi Sera Gonpa in Dzoege Dzong of the Ngaba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture. Thus, so far a total of 144 Tibetans from both the religious and lay communities have been clearly verified to have carried out self-immolation protests in Tibet. Among them, a total of 124 are known to have died; the fate of the remaining 20 continues to remain unclear.
Regarding the reasons for the self-immolations, the government of China has resorted to all manners of propaganda subterfuge, announcing both within the People’s Republic of China and to the outside world – as it still does now – that they have been instigated by motivated political and religious groups and so on from outside the country. The government of China has even resorted to vilifying the self-immolators with totally false announcements about the reasons for their fiery protest actions. While doing so, the government of China has placed all the Tibetan regions in a semblance of preparations for war, subjecting the Tibetan people to ethnic discrimination, economic marginalization, false criminal charges, colonial exploitation, environmental devastation, and so on in a never ending course of repression. To sum up, it is very obvious that China is continuing to implement in Tibet policies which make it extremely hard for the Tibetan people to live in their own homeland and which is designed to transform the land of the Tibetan people into one dominated and populated by Chinese people. The situation in Tibet today continues to be that it is impossible to know with any completeness of details how many innocent Tibetan people have been falsely charged with crimes and killed, how many have been detained or arrested, and how many have been imprisoned and tortured or continue to endure torture in various parts of Tibet. It bears no mentioning that the martyr Sonam Tso who has sacrificed her all, including her life, for the well-being of the Tibetan religion, polity, and people will never be forgotten and will remain a shining chapter in the history of the Tibetan struggle forever. And the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile considers it the utmost importance to adopt a resolution of mourning, honouring, and remembering her.
The Tibetan Parliament in Exile offers admiration and pays tribute to Sonam Tso for her patriotically inspired heroic deed. We pray that she succeed in atoning for and thereby getting cleansed of whatever amount of sinful deeds she may have accumulated through all the aeons of her lives. And undergoing the four wheels of the excellent supreme Mahayana recourses, may she definitely and in all speediness attain the stage of enlightenment. The Tibetan Parliament in Exile offers condolences to her surviving family members and other close associates. And as wished for by this heroic woman, may His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the spiritual lord of all the Three Realms, be able to return home in the Snowland of Tibet, and we ardently pray that the sunshine of freedom and happiness dawn on all the Tibetans both in Tibet and in exile at the soonest. Adopted unanimously by the Tibetan Parliament in Exile on this 1st day of June 2016.
The above resolution was adopted unanimously by the 16th Tibetan Parliament in Exile during its first session, on 1 June 2016.