Tibetan Activist Talks About the Alarming Escalation of Self-Immolations in China

Tibetan activists protest after self-immolations increase

At least 88 Tibetans have self-immolated since 2009, a figure that is rising daily. © Gerardo Angiulli / Demotix

At least 75 Tibetans – including many Buddhist monks and nuns – have set themselves on fire this year. Many shouted for the return of the Dalai Lama and for freedom for Tibetans as they burned and some made the same demands in written statements.

This escalation in self-immolations in Tibetan-populated areas in China, including the Tibetan Autonomous Region and neighbouring provinces, saw 24 people set themselves ablaze in November alone.

The total number of Tibetans who have self-immolated since 2009 currently stands at 88, a figure that is now rising daily.

Bobpa Tsang – not his real name – is a Tibetan activist now living in London. He told Amnesty International how he respects those Tibetan protesters who self-immolate.


Flames of Despair in Tibetan Protest for Human Rights

Lhamo Tso wife imprisoned Tibetan filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen

Lhamo Tso, the wife of imprisoned Tibetan filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen, in New York, March 9, 2012. (Photo EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)

Tibetan exile Jampa Yeshi committed the ultimate act of protest Monday by setting himself on fire in New Delhi on the eve of Chinese President Hu Jintao’s visit to India.  Horrific photographs of his self-immolation [warning: graphic image] quickly spread around the world via the Internet and India’s dynamic press, galvanizing the cause of Tibetans fighting to draw international attention to human rights violations committed by the Chinese government in Tibet.

Although Yeshi was one of nearly 30 Tibetans who have set fire to themselves over the past year to protest Chinese government policies, outsiders have rarely seen such agonizingly clear documentation of the immolations before now. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST