Video: 16-year-old Tibetan self-immolator speaks about his reasons from hospital bed

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

When they are shocked, countries like the United Kingdom, America and Africa begin to pay attention to Tibetans.”


Tibetan school boy Dorjee Tsering who carried out a self-immolation protest in India on Monday has released a video from his hospital bed in Delhi in which he explains his reasons for setting himself on fire (1, Wearing bandages and with his face swollen, Dorjee Tsering speaks through an oxygen mask:


“My name is Dorjee Tsering. I am a student of Tibetan Children’s Village, Mussoorie. I am 16 years old. In 1959, Chinese occupied our Tibet . This caused Tibetans to become fragmented ..some are in Tibet, some in exile and other countries. I have had a strong determination to do something for Tibet since my childhood. So, I thought  that there was nothing else I could do other than self-immolation. Because if there is self-immolation, people get shocked, thinking that he set himself on fire for his country. When they are shocked, countries like the United Kingdom, America and Africa begin to pay attention to Tibetans. When they pay attention, then they will support Tibetans. That will be helpful for us. It seems the oil put on my body was not enough for it to burn completely. Finally I want to say: Tibet must get freedom as soon as possible and long live His Holiness. Victory for Tibet.” (2)


Dorjee Tsering carried out the protest in Dehradun, Uttarakhand State, India, near an old people’s home after visiting his grandfather. After dousing his body in petrol and setting it alight, he shouted “Bod-Rangzen” (free Tibet ) as he ran engulfed in flames.  His family believe he may have been planning the protest for some time.  When he was home during an earlier school holiday he had asked them how they would feel if he did something for the Tibetan struggle. His father, Thupten, is currently with him in Delhi and told Tibet Watch that this is a heart breaking incident but he is proud of his son and his sacrifice for the Tibetan nation.


More than 140 Tibetans have set themselves alight inside Tibet, with the most recent protest taking place in August 2015 (3). Eight have taken place outside Tibet since 1998, including Dorjee Tsering.


Free Tibet director Eleanor Byrne-Rosengren said:


“With news breaking of another self-immolation inside Tibet on Monday, the global community cannot continue to turn a deaf ear to the voices of Tibetans calling for its support. China’s occupation of Tibet and its oppression inside Tibet should be enough to generate international condemnation at the highest level. Surely the words and actions of this 16-year-old boy will shame the political leaders who put more value on friendship with China than justice for Tibet. They should all watch this, and imagine if it was their child.” (4)


Information and translation by Tibet Watch




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Notes to editors

(1) See Free Tibet press release 1 March 2016. Video available at It was recorded by the Delhi President of the Regional Tibetan Youth Congress on 29 February, who has provided permission to  Free Tibet  for its use without restriction. Consent has also been provided by Dorjee Tsering’s parents, Thupten and Yangzom, for use internationally. Portrait of Dorjee Tsering ; photograph in hospital Please credit Free Tibet.

(2) The Chinese invasion of Tibet took place in 1950. In 1959, the date Dorjee Tsering refers to, Tibetans rose up against Chinese occupation but their uprising was crushed and the Dalai Lama fled into exile.

(3) Last self-immolation: Tashi Kyi, 27 August 2015. Free Tibet press release The last self-immolation outside Tibet was by Karma Ngedon Gyatso, August 6 2013, in Nepal. Full list of self-immolators inside Tibet at

(4) At the time of this release, Free Tibet has confirmed a self-immolation protest inside Tibet on 29 February, in Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan province. Further details will be released once they are confirmed.