Two Tibetans shot dead, another self-immolation, as China's dissent crackdown continues

Radio Free Asia reports that a 40-year-old Tibetan monk and his 38-year-old brother in Sichuan province were shot by authorities today, after participating protests against Chinese rule and calling for the return of the exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

"The two brothers had been on the run for more than two weeks, and had been hiding in the hills in a nomad region when they were surrounded and fired upon."

In related news, yet another Tibetan monk is reported to have set himself on fire on Wednesday. Phayul identifies the monk here; it is not known whether he survived. A source who knows him describes him as “a kind and humble person who used to enjoy looking after pigeons."

That latest self-immolation took place at a monastery near the site of a large protest Wednesday, in which about 1,000 Tibetans marched to protest injustice under China.

RFA reports that in that protest, monks carried banners in the colors of the outlawed Tibetan flag demanding Chinese authorities "Respect the Tibetans—We are one in happiness and sorrow," and "Respect the Tibetan language."

Related news coverage: AP, NYT, Guardian.

The Gyalwang Karmapa is the latest figure within Tibetan Buddhism to make an unusual and unprecedented statement regarding the ongoing string of self-immolations and demonstrations inside Tibet. You can read the statement here. (HT: @marzinka)

Photo (RFA): "A Tibetan wearing a mask against the backdrop of protests in Nangchen county in Qinghai province, Feb. 8, 2012."


    1. Somehow I doubt it. The difference between Chinese and American mass media is in China they never talk about it, in America they talk about it but blame whichever side isn’t the 1%.

    2. No news at all. No one has even heard of these recent events. No one here really cares anyway… Tibet is China, period.

      1.  Looks like a form of genocide to me.  The population is being replaced.  History has already been rewritten. 

  1. The problem for the Tibetans is that no government in the world denies China’s claim to rule there. There is no discussion similar to talks on Syria’s crack down; no question of a UN vote. And the Chinese are just waiting for the Dalai Lama to die so they can appoint his successor (not for the first time either).  There is no reason for the Chinese to withdraw, no benefit to them, and no leverage which the Tibetans might use to move them. 

    The question is whether mass suicide is likely to move the Chinese politburo to compassion? The answer is *obviously not*.  It’s a story with no possible happy ending. So, while it is distressing to hear about monks committing suicide by burning themselves, I can’t help feeling depressed knowing that the gesture is futile. It get’s worse because suicide is a weighty negative karma. Unlike Muslim suicide bombers who expect to go to paradise, the suicidal monks cast a pall over their society because in murdering themselves they are destined for a stay in hell (though not permanently). The gesture is worse than futile, it actually makes the situation bleaker. Monks are looked up to by the ordinary people. Now not only are they are oppressed,  but the monks have lost hope and are committing suicide instead of sicking to their vows. 

    I don’t think there’s any parallel with Vietnam in the 1960s. The Chinese overlords are an entirely different animal. They really don’t care what the world thinks of them, and they are quite prepared to sacrifice the few for the good of the many. The old Confucian ideal of stable society being more important than any one individual has not been erased by Communism, only enhanced. 

    The Karmapa’s statement is a study in helplessness. He can’t afford to be political for fear that China will lean on India to withdraw their support for the Tibetan diaspora. He even admits that Tibet is more prosperous than it was. The Chinese govt has brought material prosperity to Tibet and this only confirms the rightness of what they are doing in their own minds. It is the fulfilment of their duty.

    So pity the Tibetans, because as many Syrians are killed by their own leaders, they at least have some hope of deliverance. The Tibetans are well and truly fucked.

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