I haven't recently written about the self-immolations 0f Tibetan Buddhists in China, although certainly they have continued. Close to one hundred Tibetan Buddhists, mostly monks and nuns, have been known to have set fire to themselves over the past few months.
This is hard to reconcile, given the First Precept -- do not kill. I understand the monastics are avoiding more conventional group protests after the 2008 Lhasa uprising ended in violence against Han Chinese by Tibetan laypeople. This violence enabled Beijing to avoid addressing the oppression that is at the root of the unrest.
Now China is accusing specific Tibetans of inciting the self-immolations -- because people who burn themselves to death couldn't possibly do so out of their own convictions, I suppose. In the past several hours Chinese courts have convicted eight ethnic Tibetans of murder because a relative or associate self-immolated. They have to find somebody to blame but themselves.
Awhile back Robert Thurman described this scene --
"One of the brave monks who set himself on fire did so in the close presence of Chinese military police, who were so confused by this astonishing gesture, they shot him and then proceeded to beat him as he was dying, as if to punish him for freeing himself from their punishments! It was a sign of their utter confusion."
Perhaps they were punishing him for killing himself without proper authorization.