Since 2008, there has been a series of protests by Tibetans against the repressive Chinese domination in Tibet. Most of these self-immolation acts are done by monks, nuns or ex-monks. Some of them were even teenagers.
- Tibet (also called as the Land of snow) is a beautiful plateau located in the centre of Asia and south-west China. Before China’s invasion, Tibet was comprised of 3 provinces- Kham, U-Tsang, and Amdo. Protests mainly take place in China’s occupied Tibet (i.e. in regions such as U-Tsang and parts of Kham).
- According to a survey done by freetibet.org, more than 140 in March 2009, 80 in 2012 and nearly 40 peoples in 2013 have immolated themselves. Near about 6800 protesters have been arrested and tortured by Chinese troops.
- The protests began as a result of Chinese invasion. According to freetibet.org, Chinese have wiped out the culture, religion, tradition, environmental assets of Tibet followed by repressive measures by Chinese security forces. In order to seek freedom and to protect their culture and national dignity, Tibetans have outburst into severe protests.
- Not only from religious institutions but these protestors also include teachers, students, herdsmen, fathers, mothers and also teenagers (some of them have reported being 15 years old). Following the non-violence path set up by Dalai Lama, Tibetans prefer peaceful protests. However if needed, they go for any forms of protests.
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- While on fire, Tibetans have shouted for Dalai Lama’s long life and his return to Tibet. They have also insisted on bringing human freedom rights back to Tibet. Protestors such as Tsering Gyal also said before dying that “Today I self-immolated for the reunion of Tibetans inside and outside Tibet. My only wish for you is to be united and to work for the preservation of Tibetan language and tradition. If we do these things, Tibetans will be reunited.”
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- A portrait of another protestor Sangye Dolma was published after his death in which words were written in her hand “Tibet is an independent country.”
- Back in the 1980 and in 2008 when Beijing was supposed to host the Olympic Games, Tibetans protested in huge numbers.
- However, China has responded abruptly regarding this issue. With fear of spreading this news, China has intrinsically done complete blackout in the affected regions. With the increase in their military forces, they have introduced severe punishment and tortured for the accused and the protestors. China blames Dalai Lama for all these uprisings and has described these uprisings as “violent behaviour whose aim is to create an atmosphere of terror” . Even foreign journalists are rarely allowed inside the region.
- Dalai Lama has remained neutral on this issue. He says “This is a very, very delicate political issue. If I say something positive, then the Chinese immediately blame me. If I say something negative, then the family members of those people feel very sad. They sacrificed their own life. It is not easy. So I do not want to create some kind of impression that this is wrong. So the best thing is to remain neutral.”
Prepared by Pritam
Pritam is a 3rd year engineering student in B.P. Poddar institute of management and technology, Kolkata. A simple person who tries to innovate and improvise himself. Twitter @pritam_gogreen