First self-immolation in Tibet since August 2015 confirmed

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Monk Kalsang Wangdu dies as a result of injuries sustained


A Tibetan monk named Kalsang Wangdu, aged 18, has died after setting himself on fire on Monday 29 February 2016 in Nyarong County in Kardze prefecture (1), eastern Tibet. He carried out his self-immolation around 4pm by his monastery, the Retsokha Aryaling monastery.


After Kalsang Wangdu set himself on fire, he called for “Tibet’s complete independence”. People passing by the protest site doused him with water and took him to hospital in Nyarong County. He was then transferred to a hospital in Chengdu, but died on the way there.


Kalsang Wangdu’s is the first self-immolation inside Tibet since August 2015. On the same day, 29 February, 16-year-old Tibetan schoolboy Dorjee Tsering also set himself alight, his protest taking place in India (2). More than 140 Tibetans have set themselves alight inside Tibet (3).Free Tibet director Eleanor Byrne-Rosengren said:


“News of Kalsang Wangdu’s self-immolation, coming on the same day that Dorjee Tsering set himself alight, must make the international community take notice of China’s repression in Tibet. These protests will only end when China addresses the grievances of the Tibetan people. Other governments, which consider themselves China’s friends and trading partners, cannot keep ignoring the flagrant abuse of human rights in Tibet or the fact that China’s repressive policies are still driving Tibetans to such an extreme form of protest.”


In other news, a Tibetan woman named Mang Gha was arrested on 1 March after carrying out a solo protest against China’s repressive policies in Tibet. Mang Gha, aged 33, walked through the main street of Meruma in Ngaba Prefecture, Tibet (4), while holding a portrait of the Dalai Lama. She was arrested shortly after her protest and taken away by police. She is currently being held in an unknown location.


Information supplied to Free Tibet by Tibet Watch.



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Notes to editors

  1. Portrait photograph available at  Location: Nyarong (Ch: Xinlong) County, Kardze (Ch: Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province

Free Tibet press release, 1 March 2015 ; testimony from hospital bed by Dorjee Tsering, Free Tibet press release, 2 March 2016 

The first self-immolation in Tibet took place in 2009 and there were no further self-immolations until March 2011. 2012 saw the peak number of self-immolations, with 83 confirmed. Full list of self-immolation protesters at

Location: Meruma (Ch: Maierma) township, Ngaba (Ch: Aba) County, Ngaba (Ch: Aba) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province