Families suffer amid Tibetan flames of deceit
Myths and falsehoods help lure people to fatal act, report Li Huizi, Jiang Weichao and Zhang Chunxiao in Gannan, Gansu.
As his black cat leaned toward him, Chirarab sat on a bed with his legs crossed, wondering why his son chose to end his life in a premeditated self-immolation.
"He was so foolish. I did not educate my son well," said the 63-year-old Tibetan veterinarian.
Hezuo Monastery in Gannan, a Geluk monastery founded in 1673, is home to 147 monks. [PHOTO BY LI XIAOJUN / FOR CHINA DAILY]
His son, 31-year-old Tsekho, did not get along well with his wife before his death. He wanted to start a business and make money and asked his father for start-up funds. However, Chirarab refused and scolded him, as he was worried his alcoholic son would squander the money on excessive gambling and drinking.
After hearing that self-immolation could make him a "hero", Tsekho told his friends, "I would rather burn myself than live like this".
He set himself on fire beside a bridge in his village on Nov 29, 2012. Two of his friends fed the fire by pouring gasoline onto a woolen blanket and throwing the blanket to Tsekho. Another two villagers sent photos of his self-immolation overseas, along with his detailed personal information.
Some foreign media later branded Tsekho a "Tibetan martyr" protesting the growing influence of Han Chinese on the Tibetan plateau. They also used his story as an excuse to attract international attention to the so-called Tibet issue and the ultimate pursuit of "Tibetan independence," a campaign spearheaded by the Tibetan government-in-exile, with the Dalai Lama as its spiritual leader.
Villagers carried Tsekho's corpse to his parents' home and gave Chirarab the grievous news of the death of his only son.
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