Jamphel Yeshi, a Tibetan exile who set himself on fire to protest Chinese rule, died from his burns in New Delhi on Wednesday--and has now become the symbol and a martyr for Tibetan suffering. "In the early evening, more than 200 people walked through the town center waving Tibetan flags and carrying banners that proclaimed Jamphel Yeshi, who died on Wednesday, a martyr," reports The New York Times' Edward Wong in Dharamasala, India.
Yeshi set himself on fire in New Delhi on Monday, making a statement right before Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to the BRIC summit. His death on Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal reports, came just hours before Hu landed in the city. As both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal confirm, Yeshi isn't the first Tibetan exile to set himself on fire in India--The Wall Street Journal reports that at least 30 have taken place in China's Tibetan regions. What makes Yeshi's different, as The New York Times details, is that Chinese forces strangled coverage of these immolations--with only a few showing up as grainy video or cell phone images. Yeshi's self-immolation was caught by international photographers. (WARNING: very graphic.)
"On Tuesday, images of Mr. Yeshi proliferated on walls here. One gruesome poster showed his ravaged body in the hospital," writes Wong and goes on to report on Yeshi's galvanizing effect on protesters:
The crowd that strode through upper Dharamsala, officially called McLeod Ganj, pumped fists in the air and chanted slogans: “What do we want? Freedom!” “United Nations, please support us.” “Stop the killing.”
"Martyr Jamphel Yeshi's sacrifice will be written in golden letters in the annals of our freedom struggle," said Dhondup Lhadar, an activist with the Tibetan Youth Congress, in an AP report. "He will live on to inspire and encourage the future generations of Tibetans."