Last weekend I heard and then learned about the death of Tashi Sangpo, a monk from Ragya Monastery in Amdo who drowned himself in the Machu river after escaping from his police captors who were interrogating him about his role in hoisting up the Tibetan national flag on the rooftop of Ragya Monastery. I differentiate between hearing and learning because when I first heard about it, it was the standard tragic story that you hear coming out of Tibet every so often. Someone's given 14 years in jail or beaten and tortured to death and you think akha and azi and then you get over it and think about something else. I thought akha and azi and then I got over it and thought about something else.
But of course his story didn't go away. Later Tendor showed me his photo. He's a 28 year old monk and he looks like a nice young man, the kind of shy, easily-embarrassed monk you have seen everywhere. What happened was this: The Tibetan national flag had been hoisted atop the monastery and the police (the PSB of course) was there to piss and shit on all the Tibetans. Tashi Sangpo claimed that he put up the flag all by himself, no one else was involved, and then he ran from the police and jumped into the Machu. We call it suicide, but is that right? He was driven to this final desperate act -by his own courage and heroism in taking all the blame and by fear and terror of the Chinese government and its scumbag agents. Tashi Sangpo drowned himself, but his death is yet another Tibetan murder committed by the Chinese Communist Colonial Government.