The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Yet another Tibetan dies after setting himself on fire to protest China

A monk holds a picture of Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

Sixteen-year-old Dorjee Tsering, a Tibetan student in India who set himself on fire earlier this week to protest the Chinese occupation in Tibet, has died from his injuries at a hospital in New Delhi, according to local news reports.

The teen told his mother he wanted to "do something for his country" moments before he self-immolated Monday in the northern city of Dehradun, according to the Indian Express. His mother tried to save him, she told the newspaper, but she could not.

Dorjee was transported to Safdarjung Hospital in New Delhi, where he died Thursday night, hospital spokeswoman Poonam Dhanda told the New York Times.

China’s plan to ‘liberate’ a cradle of Tibetan culture

For decades, Tibetans have protested China's rule in Tibet — upset over political, environmental and religious issues and worried that their culture will be forgotten.

The first self-immolation in Tibet motivated by a desire for change is thought to have occurred in April 1998 during a hunger strike in Delhi, according to the International Campaign for Tibet, a human rights organization based in D.C.

Since then, it has counted more than 140 Tibetans who have died in the same way.

That time China censored an art summit — in another country

Earlier this week, another Tibetan died after self-immolation.

On Monday, 18-year-old Tibetan monk Kalsang Wangdu died when he lit his own body on fire in the Chinese province of Sichuan, according to Radio Free Asia.

A source told RFA "he called out for Tibet’s complete independence" while he burned.

Dorjee's mother, Nyima Yangzom, told the Indian Express that her son, too, had been talking about "doing something" for Tibet.

"Once, he called me from his hostel and said he would set himself on fire," she told the newspaper. "I rebuked him and said if he wanted to do something for his country, he should do so through his studies.

"I warned him that if he tried to do anything stupid, even I would set myself on fire."

On Monday morning while Dorjee was visiting his uncle in Dehradun, witnesses said, he called out for freedom for his homeland, doused himself in gasoline and set himself ablaze, according to the Indian Express.

His mother suffered minor burns trying to put out his flames.

After Dorjee reached the hospital, doctors said he was burned on over 95 percent of his body, his mother told the Indian Express.

"Apart from his face," she told the newspaper, "he has burn injuries all over the body."

Tibet’s tough road ahead

Human rights groups supporting the community in exile have since pointed to Dorjee's story as an example of the plight of his people.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton brought further attention to it, holding up his picture Tuesday in Minnesota, where she spoke with the president of the Tibetan National Congress, an advocacy organization.

Before Dorjee died from his injuries, he spoke this week from his hospital bed, according to reports.

“I did discuss my intentions with my parents, who told me they would kill themselves if I did this,” he said in a video, according to Radio Free Asia. But, he added, he had "the will to do something for the Tibetan cause."

He said he thought "I could sacrifice this body for the Tibetan cause,” according to the news service.

“I want His Holiness the Dalai Lama to live long," he said, "and for Tibet to achieve its independence."

[This story has been updated.]