Self-immolations by Tibetans

Last Updated: September 22, 2014, 10:04 EST

This list provides summary details of the self-immolations by Tibetans in the PRC since February, 2009 (all except one, by a Tibetan woman in Beijing, have taken place in Tibet). A list below provides details of self-immolations by Tibetans in exile.

The Chinese authorities in Tibet have intensified measures to prevent information reaching the outside world about the self-immolations. This has been combined with a more aggressive and formalized response to the self-immolations, involving harsh sentencing and torture for those suspected of involvement, even if that is simply bearing witness. Due to this climate, it is impossible for this list to be fully comprehensive, and it is indicated on the list where circumstances of the self-immolations are not fully known.

A map marking the locations of the self-immolations in Tibet can be viewed here. For further information and details of the lives of a number of those who self-immolated and the statements they left behind. (ICT report, Storm in the Grasslands: Self-immolations in Tibet and Chinese policy)

The first self-immolation in Tibetan society in the modern era took place in exile in Delhi, India, on April 27, 1998, when Thubten Ngodrup set himself on fire – and later died – as a Tibetan Youth Congress hunger strike was broken up by Indian police. Since then, five more Tibetans have set fire to themselves in exile, detailed in the enclosed list.

  Kalsang Wangdu
Tashi Kyi
Sonam Tobgyal
Sangye Tso
Tenzin Gyatso
Yeshi Kandro
Kalsang Yeshe
Sangye Khar
Lhamo Tashi
Thinley Namgyal
Lobsang Palden
Jigme Tenzin
Lobsang Dorje
Phagmo Samdup
Tsultrim Gyatso
Kunchok Tseten
Tsering Gyal
Kunchok Sonam
Wangchen Dolma
Tenzin Sherab
Losang Dawa
Konchok Woeser
Kunchok Tsomo
Konchok Tenzin
Lhamo Kyab
Lobsang Thogme
Kunchok Wangmo*
Tsesung Kyab
Phagmo Dundrup
Sonam Dhargye
Namlha Tsering
Drugpa Khar
Lobsang Namgyal
Konchok Kyab
Tsering Tashi
Wangchen Kyi
Kunchok Pelgye
Pema Dorjee
Lobsang Geleg
Sungdue Kyab
Kunchok Kyab
Tsering Namgyal
Wande Khar
Sanggye Tashi
Kelsang Kyab
Gonpo Tsering
Kunchok Tsering
Sangay Dolma
Tamdrin Kyab
Tamdrin Dorjee
Lubhum Gyal
Tsering Dundrup
Wangchen Norbu
Sangdag Tsering
Chagmo Kyi
Khabum Gyal
Tenzin Dolma
Nyangchag Bum
Nyangkar Tashi
Gonpo Tsering
Jinpa Gyatso
Dorjee Kyab
Tamding Tso
Dorjee Lhundrup
Tsewang Kyab
Lhamo Tseten
Dorje Rinchen
Lhamo Kyab
Tamdin Dorje
Sangay Gyatso
Passang Lhamo
Lobsang Damchoe
Lobsang Kelsang
Dolkar Tso
Lobsang Tsultrim
Losang Lozin
Tsewang Dorjee
Dickyi Choezom
Ngawang Norphel
Tenzin Khedup
Tamdin Thar
Dorje Tseten
Choepak Kyap
Thubten Nyandak Rinpoche & Atse*
Chimey Palden
Tenpa Darjey
Lobsang Sherab
Sonam Dargye
Lobsang Tsultrim
Jamyang Palden
Tsering Kyi
Damchoe Sangpo
Lobsang Gyatso
Tenzin Choedron
Sonam Rabyang
Rinzin Dorje
Losang Jamyang
Sonam Wangyal
Tenzin Phuntsog
Palden Choetso
Dawa Tsering
Tenzin Wangmo
Norbu Damdrul
Kelsang Wangchuk
Lobsang Kelsang
Lobsang Kunchok
Tsewang Norbu

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Kalsang Wangdu

Kalsang WangduDate: February 29, 2016
Protest location: Nyarong County in Kardze (Chinese: Ganzi)
Age: 18

Current whereabouts/wellbeing: Deceased

Info: “[While he burned], he called out for Tibet’s complete independence,” a Tibetan source told RFA, adding that witnesses to Wangdu’s protest “intervened,” intending to take him to Sichuan’s provincial capital for treatment.He carried out his self-immolation around 4pm by his monastery, the Retsokha Aryaling monastery. (RFA report,A Tibetan monk named Kalsang Wangdu, aged 18, has died after setting himself on fire on February 29 (2016) in Nyarong County in Kardze (Chinese: Ganzi), eastern Tibet, according to Radio Free Asia. (RFA report,

Kalsang Yeshe

Kalsang YesheDate: December 23, 2014
Protest location: Tawu, the Tibetan area of Kham
Age: Late twenties or thirties

Current whereabouts/wellbeing: Deceased

Info: A Tibetan monk known for his work teaching others about Buddhism set fire to himself and died today in Tawu, the Tibetan area of Kham, according to reports from Tibetans in exile. According to the same sources, Kalsang Yeshe self-immolated near a police station that had been established recently by his monastery, Nyitso, where repression of monks and local people has been particularly intense in recent years.

ICT Report:


TseypeyDate: December 22, 2014
Protest location: Center of a town in Ngaba (Chinese: Aba), the Tibetan area of Amdo
Age: 19

Current whereabouts/wellbeing: Deceased

Info: She was identified by exile sources as Tseypey, the fourth of six children from a family in Meruma township, and the same sources say that she died on the scene.

Tseypey was described by Tibetans who knew her as “well-behaved, honest and gentle”, according to Kirti monks in exile in Dharamsala. She had not received a formal education but grew up working as a herder with her parents. According to the same sources, her 60 year old father and 50 year old mother have reportedly been taken away by police, but it is not clear whether they have been detained.

ICT Report:

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