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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Jamphel Yeshi, self-immolating Tibetan, left letter before death: activists

March 29, 2012

In India, a fiery appeal from beyond the grave in activist's farewell letter.

Kristin Deasy

A burning call for freedom from Jamphel Yeshi, the self-immolating Tibetleft an activist who died Wednesday, emerges the day the Chinese leader is set to arrive in India.

Activists today say Jamphel Yeshi, the Tibetan activist who set himself on fire to protest a visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao, left a letter urging the world to "stand up for Tibet" before dying from his burns at an Indian hospital earlier this week, the Associated Press reported.

The letter called for "loyalty" amongst Tibetans, saying "if we unitedly put our strength together, there will be [a] result," so "If you have money, it is the time to spend it; If you are educated it is the time to produce results; If you have control over your life, I think the day has come to sacrifice your life."

Nearly 30 Tibetans have died in protests against Chinese dominance by self-immolating in the last 13 months, said The Guardian, a practice that is also on the rise in India, according to the Economist. Activists say they have no other way to draw attention to their plight.

Indian police are therefore stepping up security measures ahead of Hu's arrival today in New Delhi for the BRICS summit of emerging nations, where he will be joined by leaders from Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa, said the Guardian.

Hundreds of Tibetans have been arrested since the 23-year-old Tibetan exile set himself alight and ran through a large protest against Hu's visit outside the Indian parliament on Monday, according to The Telegraph.

"The fact that Tibetan people are setting themselves on fire in this 21st century is to let the world know about their suffering," stated Yeshi's letter, which was translated by activists and released on the website Burning Tibet. "People of the world, stand up for Tibet."

The letter could not be independently confirmed; AP cited activists saying it was found in Yeshi's apartment about 10 days ago.

A number of ethnic Tibetans have taken refuge in India following their unsuccessful 1959 revolt against Chinese rule.

Meanwhile, China on Wednesday denounced as meddling a recent US Senate resolution demanding that China end its "repressive policies targeting Tibetans," according to The Economic Times of India.

Some in Tibet push for total independence from China, and their exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, has spoken out against perceieved moves by Bejing to weaken their cultural identity, reported CNN.

China denies any discrimination against Tibetans. 

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