End harsh, repressive policies in Tibet, resume dialogue: TPIE tells China after latest self-immolation protest

An undated picture of Tsewang Norbu, a young and popular Tibetan singer who reportedly died after a self-immolation protest in front of the Potala Palace on 25 Feb. Image: Facebook.

DHARAMSALA, 9 March: The Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile(TPIE) has said that China must end its harsh and repressive policies in Tibet and pay heed to the aspirations of Tibetans who have self-immolated after the latest self-immolation protest in Tibet.

With over 150 self-immolation protests recorded since 2009, which accounts for the longest and the highest number of self-immolation in the history of the world, the Chinese government should not turn a blind eye and instead pay heed to the aspirations of Tibetans who were forced to resort to the fiery protest, read a statement issued by the TPIE.

The TPIE issued the statement after the latest self-immolation protest against China’s repressive policies in occupied Tibet by Tsewang Norbu, a young and popular Tibetan singer.

Describing self-immolation as the highest form of peaceful protest, the TPIE urged for greater support from freedom and peace-loving governments, parliaments, and organisations around the world for the aspirations of the self-immolators and to achieve the just cause of Tibet.

As the Tibetans have continued to peacefully protest against China for over 60 years including the spate of self-immolation protests, the TPIE has called on the Chinese leadership to do a thorough probe and immediately resume the Sino-Tibetan negotiation to find a peaceful and mutually acceptable resolution. 

The 27-year-old Tibetan singer reportedly set himself on fire before the Potala Palace in Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet on 25 Feb. and later succumbed to injuries he sustained during the protest. 

Owing to the heightened security across Tibet and particularly in the capital, the information of his death after the protest couldn’t reach outside Tibet until 5 March. 

Additionally, attempts to ascertain the place and time of Norbu’s death and the slogans the Tibetan singer shouted as he was engulfed in fire remains unsuccessful.

Norbu, son of Choegyen, hails from the Ngachu region of eastern Tibet. The Tibetan contemporary singer and composer made a name for himself after taking part in various Chinese singing reality shows such as ‘Guangdong Satellite TV’s Good Boys in China’ and ‘The Son of Tomorrow’ among others and ran into trouble with the Chinese authorities for singing Tibetan and English songs and for writing his name in Tibetan during the contest. 

While the talented Tibetan young single has produced many hit singles including Tsampa, Dress Up and Except You among others, his social media accounts have been closed down by the authorities after it was bombarded with condolence messages.

Though the Central Tibetan Administration(CTA) headquartered in Dharamsala has repeatedly urged Tibetans not to resort to drastic measures such as self-immolation, the saga of fiery protests by the Tibetans continues.

Since Feb 2009, at least 158 Tibetans have self-immolated in the Chinese occupied Tibet calling for freedom, an end to the Chinese occupation of Tibet and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet while 10 self-immolations by Tibetans have occurred in exile since 1998.

Norbu is the first Tibetan to have self-immolated in 2022 and the first since 2019 to protest against Chinese rule in Tibet.

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