Returning Home After 17 Years To Fulfill My Mother’s Last Wish

on way to Tibet,
photo source:
By Tsering Dawa

It is my mother’s last wish to see me before she die and I have been running to the Chinese Embassy in Delhi for last three years asking for a visa to visit my mother in Tibet who I have not seen for last 17 years. 

Tibet is engulfing with the fiery protests of Tibetans setting themselves on fire since 2009, and since last year, the number of self-immolations is increasing drastically, so expecting a visa to visit Tibet was out of mind but while coinciding with a three-day vocation in Delhi, I happened to visit the Chinese Embassy in the Indian capital, and reapplied for the visa. Unbelievably, I got the visa within four months, and I was able to fulfill my mom’s last wish! 

My brother-governor of three districts who is a bit puppet of Chinese government and who is fond of saying "no matter where you live, every country has law, and you have to follow the rules, else you will meet the consequences,” is also being moved by the self-immolations.

I was seven when I escaped from Tibet according to my school documents that someone registered for me when I was first admitted into the Tibetan Children’s Village School but to be honest, I don’t really know what was my age when I first left Tibet for my studies in India, and I don’t remember anything other than my mom’s face and some of my relatives’. Thanks to the photos and lately video chats that kept my memory of them awake. 
I was over whelmed to see my mother and brother after almost two decades and it was an unforgettable experience to be with them for last two months but to be honest, my stay was constantly disturbed by the visits of Chinese police and officials in uniform and sometimes, in plain clothes. 
Every Tuesday, either I was called to the police station or a group of them visit me at my home. They asked me about the Dalai Lama, they asked me about the Tibetan government in exile. They tried to threaten me. They tried to bribe me. I found them so stupid that they are trying to change someone’s mind- who is grown up and well educated.  
I didn’t see a self-immolation with my own naked eyes but I heard of the news of self-immolations—spreading from one region to another—one after another, engulfing all over Tibet, and every time a Tibetan sets self on fire, the news is being spread from one region to another, from one person to another through phone calls, messages and word of mouth. I noticed every Tibetan in Tibet is being hurt and saddened by the news but at the same time, interestingly all of them are being anticipated, empowered and encouraged to stand in unity and protest against the Chinese government in Tibet.
Within the two-month stay, and with the increasing number of self-immolations, I noticed my brother is being moved, and started hating the Chinese policies for the Tibetans in Tibet.
“Too much pressure from the central government, I think I’m gonna burst out soon. I am losing temper, and I am tired of faking smiles for the Chinese officials,” trust me I heard that from my brother with my own ears, and I have a feeling that Tibetans like my brother who are working under the Chinese government are being started to shift their position—from being with the Chinese government to the Tibetans. Self-immolation is working. It is going to move all the Tibetans to tears and join in in protest against the Chinese regime in Tibet. 
My mother begged me to stay with her till her last breath, and my brother promised me a good job, but I refused their request and return back to exile in India because all I can see there is Chinese soldiers and all I can feel is fear. The only people that I know there are my mother, brother and few relatives, all others are strangers to me, and I couldn’t feel home though it is my native land ‘Tibet’. 
I am ashamed and sad to say, but I feel more home in India than Tibet—at least until Chinese regime over Tibet ends. 

NOTE—Tsering Dawa is the pen name of the author and the author wants to remain synonymous in fear of threats from Chinese government to the author’s family in Tibet.

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  1. Same is with me, I am also looking forward to visiting my family in Tibet

  2. A very moving story. Thank you for sharing your inner most feelings; it must have been difficult.
    I am glad that the sentiment of those Tibetans, like your brother, who work for the Chinese are finally waking up - just as the Indian police and army under the British stood up and refused to carry out their orders.

  3. I am glad that the Tibetan lives on fire are not going in vain. It seems that the they are well aware and confident that the Tibetan officials under Chinese government will be moved and bring unity in struggle for a free Tibet but again, I wonder to what extend, this fiery fire protest will success? Honestly, I don't see any favourable spring after the summer, just turning into winter and we know how harsh winter is in Tibet!

  4. I just wish our World would change for the good as quick as possible so that no one else feels they have to hurt themselves in such a terrible way. Please World, treat everyone with respect and let's live in a free and just World incredibly soon. Brave people of Tibet, I honour your total courage and belief. You will be free.

  5. That is a very compelling story.Very sorry to hear about your mother's health.Hopefully she is better. We thank you for your courage in writing and sharing your experience with the world.It is vital importance the world hears these first hand information.I have reasons to believe deep down at heart, no one Tibetan serving under the Chinese fully agree with the Beijing government and Beijing knows it too well too.Tibetans every where in Tibet work below the Chinese.The highest seats are held by the Han Chinese.Those Tibetans know, rightfully Tibetans should be in those seats.It's only a matter of time; when? But Tibetans unitedly (pro/anti Chinese) will one day rise and rise up unitedly against China.Which owner of the land wishes to serve under the occupiers command and for how long? ONLY A MATTER OF TIME.And Chinese aren't very smart people. They thought;Dalai Lama dies, every thing ends for Tibet and Tibet's future.But today they are beginning to see the day light out of our younger generations.This world is our witness to that.Thank you for sharing your experience.

  6. My heart beats for the Tibetans, always!

  7. O Tsering la, thank you sincerely for sharing your story first hand to all of us. Listening to such real story should make us all stand together to fight againts Chinese regime which only gave us all pain, separation, fear and what not...

  8. Heard that China is giving visa to the Tibetans these days so easily? Change of policy? What should we say?

  9. Dear mate,
    Thank you sincerely for sharing your stories and we'll will sincerely for your mum's health. Besides it feels great to hear such good news that you have shared after piles of bad news coming up from Tibet.
    Sincerely yours