On 29thJanuary, a Tibetan farmer set fire to himself near the Bora Monastery in China, making it the ninety ninth case of self-immolation. As of 2009, almost 100 Tibetans, including nuns, farmers, monks and students, have set themselves on fire in protest against Chinese occupation of Tibet out of which 83 have died.
The rise in public protests especially suicide protests is becoming a major concern for the Chinese Government which experienced violent riots and demonstrations in 2008 Lhasa the Tibetan capital which generated a series of protests in Tibetan areas.
The Tibetans demand the freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama, their spiritual leader, to Tibet. The self-immolations are a way of protesting against the Chinese rule in occupied Tibet. They accuse China of religious repression which is a threat to their culture. China on the other hand considers this as a false accusation claiming that it has brought modernization and a better standard of living to Tibet along with the huge investment in the occupied country.
The whole point of the self-immolations is to live in a country where there is no restriction of practicing religion. People are so desperate in and outside of Tibet to get back their religious freedom that they have resorted to suicide to get themselves noticed. Those committing the self-immolations might not even be there to see if it works but it is a sacrifice they are willing to make.
Self-immolation is a language of intense pain...a way to communicate the extent of the atrocity they endure. -Tang chinadigitaltimes.net/2013/01/tang-d…— lhadon (@lhadon) January 24, 2013
Though their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, does not support the idea of these suicides, he has praised the courage of conviction of the Tibetans. There is a deeply emotional connection between the incidents of people who set themselves on fire. They consider it as an investment for their culture’s future and regard it as a contribution in protests against the ‘cultural genocide’ by the Chinese.
Another Tibetan gives his life in fire for Love of his Fatherland Tibet, in peaceful protest against chinese occupation thetibetpost.com/en/news/tibet/…— Tenzin Namgyal (@Tenam108) January 22, 2013
After frequent and rising incidents of monks burning themselves along with farmers and students and inciting others to do the same, the Tibetan government -in-exile in India announced plans for a four day campaign in order to build up global pressure on China to end this streak of self-immolation violence in areas under their rule.