Monk imprisoned for self-immolation released after six years

Lobsang Kalsang
Lobsang Kalsang
1st August 2017

Lobsang Kalsang set himself alight in 2011. He was released from prison on Saturday 29 July.

A Tibetan monk who set himself alight in 2011 was released from prison on Saturday 29 July. He has since returned home. His health condition remains unknown.

Arrested for a self-immolation protest

Lobsang Kalsang, from Meruma in Ngaba County, carried out his self-immolation protest on 26 September 2011, at age 19. Along with Lobsang Konchok, an 18-year-old monk, he set himself on fire in the market area of Ngaba County.

The pair, both residents at Ngaba's Kirti Monastery, shouted slogans calling for the long life of the Dalai Lama and for Tibet’s independence. They were arrested by the authorities during their protest.

Lobsang Kalsang's whereabouts remained unknown for six years, until his release, on Saturday, from Deyang Prison in Sichuan Province.

Lobsang Konchok was released earlier this year, on 28 March 2017. One of his legs was amputated in prison. He has been under tight surveillance ever since and is not allowed to go back to his monastery.

A wave of protests

Almost 150 Tibetans have set themselves on fire inside Tibet since 2009. Among them is Lobsang Kalsang’s cousin, Phuntsok, who was at Kirti Monastery. He set himself alight on 16 March 2011.

The day of Lobsang Kalsang’s release, Passang Dhondup, a Tibetan wood painter set himself on fire in Dharamsala, India. Passang Dhondup died at the scene of his self-immolation.

Information supplied by Tibet Watch

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China holds numerous political prisoners. Among them, the Panchen Lama, who became the world's youngest political prisoner when he was detained in 1995. Ever since, his whereabouts have remained unknown.

Write to the Chinese Minister of Justice to push for the Panchen Lama's release.