The Kalon Tripa, who was accompanied by his cabinet colleague Tenpa Tsering, expressed his concerns about the health of the activists on fast. Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche, who has been a TYC executive himself in his youth, handed over a letter from the Kashag (Tibetan cabinet) to the activists and the TYC asking them to stop the fast. Samdhong Rinpoche will be succeeded in August as the next Tibetan PM by Lobsang Sangay who won the polls conducted on March 20, 2011.
The Tibetan Youth Congress says the aim of the hunger strike – now in its 22nd day – is to demand the immediate withdrawal of the Chinese security forces from the monastery and the unconditional release of all political prisoners, including those recently arrested in Ngaba, which has been at the centre of political dissent since March this year. The TYC is also demanding that a Tibetan Youth Congress delegation is granted access to Tibet to assess the situation of political prisoners there.
Kirti Rinpoche, the patron of Kirti monastery visited the activists to express concerns about the activists’ physical state and urged them to call off the campaign saying that though he appreciates their determination there was a need for healthy activists in Tibet’s struggle.
In the evening, Regional TYC Samyeling and Rohini organized an evening of Indian solidarity for the three hunger strikers as part of the ‘Global Solidarity Relay Hunger Strike’.
TYC said the activists’ health has deteriorated over 3 weeks with Dhondup Lhadar shedding off 16 kilos, Tenzin Norsang putting off 11 kilos and Konchok Yangphel losing 13 kilos. Their blood pressure has consistently been below normal for the past 3 weeks, said TYC.
TYC, the Tibetan Diaspora’s largest pro independence group often likened to a terrorist organization by China, says that the Kirti monastery has remained under complete military lockdown since the self-immolation and death of a 24-year old monk on March 16. According to human rights groups, the young monk was protesting against Chinese rule in Tibet and timed his self-immolation to coincide with the third anniversary of widespread protests across the region, including in the capital Lhasa, as well as Ngaba.