“Dead Lama Urged Unity”

RFA claims to have gotten hold of a taped message prepared by Sopa Rinpoche, the reincarnate lama who self-immolated two weeks ago:

The Tibetan people should “unite as one” to protect their nation and culture from destruction by Chinese rule, the highest-ranking Buddhist monk to have self-immolated so far said in a message recorded shortly before he burned to death earlier this month.

His taped message, spoken in Tibet’s Amdo dialect and running for about nine minutes, was found wrapped in his yellow robe.

In the tape, Sopa first offered respect and thanks to the other Tibetan men and women—almost all of them monks and nuns, and now numbering 17—who have self-immolated, he said, for the cause of Tibet.

“Tibet’s future as a glorious country depends on the efforts of these heroes and heroines and all of you united as one,” he said.

Sopa then offered his own life and body for the “well-being of Tibet’s six million people and especially of all high lamas, headed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.”

“The younger generations should learn their culture,” he added, “and the older generations should try their best to preserve our language and customs.”

Meanwhile, about 200 Tibetans gathered on Wednesday in Pema county in Golog to protest Chinese rule, a Tibetan living in exile said, speaking on condition of anonymity and citing contacts in the region.

The group consisted mainly of monks from Benza, Achunggya, and Penag monasteries, together with some local laypeople, the source said, adding that two of the protesters carried pictures of the Dalai Lama, who fled into exile in India in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule.

The protest was triggered in part by local outrage at an official Chinese account of Sopa’s death, which blamed the highly respected monk’s self-immolation on “an affair with a married woman,” the source said.

“This was an insult … Therefore the people became angry, and began their protest.”

This new strategy- trying to defame the self-immolators after their death- isn’t working. It’s a testament to how clueless Beijing is about how to deal with this, and if they were paying attention they’d stop it right now, because trying to slander people who are viewed by many Tibetans as heroes only serves to further discredit Chinese authorities (if further discrediting is really possible).

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Filed under ethnic conflict, Self-Immolation Crisis, Tibet

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