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Barbara O'Brien

Self-Immolations Reach Lhasa

By May 29, 2012

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Two Tibetan men set fire to themselves in front of Jokhang Temple in Lhasa on Sunday afternoon. Reports are that one died and the other is seriously injured. The two were not monks, but laypeople.

Edward Wong of the New York Times reports that Beijing is concerned the wave of protest-by-suicide may be spreading. Of the 35 or so self-immolations that we know of, only one other took place within the Tibetan Autonomous Region, or the area that was the nation of Tibet before the Chinese invasion in 1950. The others have taken place in the Chinese provinces of Qinghai and Sichuan, which have large ethnic Tibetan populations.

Beijing also is worried that the protests are becoming more political. Jokhang Temple was built by King Songtsen Gampo (d. ca. 650). Like Potala Palace, it is  a symbol of Tibetan history and nationalism as much as Tibetan Buddhism.

Most of the earlier self-immolations were protesting heavy-handed repression at Kirti Monastery in Sichuan. Word is that Chinese security forces are tightening security in Lhasa and detaining Tibetans from the same county as the two protesters.

Comments
June 1, 2012 at 7:22 am
(1) wannabemountainman says:

“earlier self-immolations were protesting heavy-handed repression”…
So, how do we fix that? Why, we tighten security spelled repression).

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