As self-immolations near 100, Tibetans question the effect

The New York Times reports: A crowd of Tibetans came here to India’s capital last week, bearing flags and political banners and a bittersweet mixture of hope and despair. A grim countdown was under way: The number of Tibetans who have set themselves on fire to protest Chinese rule in Tibet had reached 99, one short of an anguished milestone.

Yet as that milestone hung over the estimated 5,000 Tibetans who gathered in a small stadium, so did an uncertainty about whether the rest of the world was paying attention at all. In speeches, Tibetan leaders described the self-immolations as the desperate acts of a people left with no other way to draw global attention to Chinese policies in Tibet.

“What is forcing these self-immolations?” Lobsang Sangay, prime minister of the Tibetan government in exile, asked in an interview. “There is no freedom of speech. There is no form of political protest allowed in Tibet.”

Billed as the Tibetan People’s Solidarity Campaign, the four-day gathering featured protests, marches, Buddhist prayer sessions and political speeches in an attempt to push Tibet back onto a crowded international agenda. If the Arab Spring has inspired hope among some Tibetans that political change is always possible, it has also offered a sobering reminder that no two situations are the same, nor will the international community respond in the same fashion.

“The world is paying attention, but not enough,” Mr. Sangay added. “There was a self-immolation in Tunisia which was labeled the catalyst for the Arab Spring. We’ve been committed to nonviolence for many decades. And how come we have been given less support than what we witnessed in the Arab world?” [Continue reading…]

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2 thoughts on “As self-immolations near 100, Tibetans question the effect

  1. gantal

    “There is no freedom of speech. There is no form of political protest allowed in Tibet.”
    This is not so, as HArvard University’s investigative team discovered. Everyone is free to criticise the Chinese government and millions of Chinese do so, vehemently, every day. See this, for example:

    And the Tibetan “cause” is the cause of the nobility, who chose to renege on their promise to free their slaves and instead looted the country of its entire trasury and fled into the welcoming arms of the CIA, who have sponsored them ever since. For more on that, see

  2. Paul Woodward

    The report you cite contradicts your own assertions: “the Chinese people are individually free but collectively in chains.” And that refers to the population as a whole, outside Tibet.

    Visit a Tibetan refugee camp in India and you will discover that the idea that the Tibetan cause is the cause of the nobility is utter nonsense.

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