Two more Tibetan women die in self-immolation protests against Chinese rule

The deaths this weekend of two Tibetan women bring the total number of Tibetans who have set themselves on fire in western China since March 2011 to at least 24. More than 16 are said to have died, in desperate acts of protest against oppression by Chinese authorities.

On Sunday, Rinchen, 32-year-old widow and mother of three, self-immolated in front of Kirti Monastery. On Saturday, 19-year-old Tsering Kyi burned herself alive in a vegetable market in Gansu province. She was a middle school student.

More: New York Times, Radio Free Asia, Free Tibet, Phayul, and a second item on Phayul. In related news, a young Tibetan monk who earlier burned himself has died, while another has had all four limbs amputated, and has reportedly received abuse from Chinese doctors in the hospital where he is being treated.

Photo: Monks gather outside a temple during Tibetan New Year celebrations in Langmusixiang, Sichuan Province February 22, 2012. REUTERS/Carlos Barria


    1.  It is hard to understand. Maybe we need to think of these not just as protests, but also as suicides.

  1. I’m interesting in learning more about self-immolation.  It’s so horrible and drastic – but most importantly what does it set out to achieve?  I assume it’s part of a tradition/philosophy, because there’s no logical argument that killing yourself will alter the practices of an already oppressive regime that clearly doesn’t care about bad PR, your life, or your opinions.

    1. Tibetans have been quietly starving and dying under Chinese rule for years.  No one cared about that “bad PR” because they kept it quiet.  This seems to be getting the Chinese Government’s attention.  How horrifying that this is what it takes and how despicable it is that their response it to attempt to silence them rather than to listen.  The Tibetans are, after all, their people since they invaded.

  2. I wish there were a peaceful solution and that Tibet could have its autonomy. I’m sure the Chinese development of real estate and business is exponentially sprawling. Bottom line, this fucking sucks. I’ve listened to enough Robert Thurman podcasts and lectures to have a deep affection and affinity for Tibetan culture and mysticism. China seems hellbent on eliminating it entirely.

    1. Real Estate? Exponentially sprawling? Tibet is of military interest.  It is a strategic location.  Tibet is spotted with ghost hotels that the Chinese have built but no one visits.  Not even the Chinese.  Except for remote parts of Tibet, Tibetan culture is probably more alive in parts of India. Remember, Chinese transplants have been living in Tibet since the revolution & they believe they are Tibetan too. So, you have indigenous Tibetans deprived of their rights and speaking Chinese and Chinese claiming they are Tibetan because they grew up there.  The Tibetans and Chinese there don’t know what’s going on outside of the country and more than we really know what’s going on inside the country except through trusted channels and friends who have recently visited.

  3. I’d have second thoughts supporting any religion that encourages their followers to commit suicide for their cause.

      1. or Christianity who are quite adamant about the whole “you kill yourself and god will hate you a whole bunch”.

        In fact they they are quite keen on making sure everyone dies the way god intended: after years of pain on life support machines.

    1. That’s an inaccurate and unfair thing to try and pin on Tibetan Buddhism, which, by the way, many would argue is not a “religion.” Reliable citation, or don’t dump that kind of crap here.

    2.  Tibetan Buddhism does not encourage suicide.  As a dharma practitioner and certainly as a monk or nun, one take a vow not to kill, this includes not to kill oneself.  To engage in self immolation is a sacrifice with karmic implications.  Tibetans do not understand suicide as a means of escape of personal problems depression etc as the option that westerners occasionally take. 

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