Two dozen Tibetans have set themselves on fire this month, in protest of Chinese rule

At least 24 ethnic Tibetans have burned themselves alive this month alone, in "a dramatic acceleration of the protests against authoritarian Chinese rule," and "a new phase in the Tibetan protests," according to the AP. Close to 100 have self-immolated since 2009, but what's different, in addition to the sheer numbers, is that most self-immolators now are lay people, not monks or nuns.


  1. Self-immolation is a pretty serious way to make a point, which we should all take pretty seriously.

    On a brighter note, rejoice in the media’s enthusiasm to report on these … ah.  Maybe not.

  2. Let’s be real, it’s not making any difference. The Chinese govt is not swayed, the western media isn’t making a big deal of it…these people are dying horrible deaths for nothing.

    1. They died with the effect of educating you about their plight. Are you saying you are entirely unmoved by their situation, by their actions?

      1.  No, I already knew about it…as likely did most of you. Their deaths are noticed mostly by people who already care. They are not going to affect Chinese policy because the Chinese do not care about a little bad press among western progressives.

    2. If the West would take notice of a people whose oppression has lasted over half a century who are now so desperate that they are self immolating then maybe things would not have come to this. Of course the PRC bastards won’t be swayed; the pressure to give a shit about human rights and national sovereignty should be coming from outside their borders – a pressure that sadly the US is no longer in a position to apply. 

      How much of a “difference” do any of our lives make? 
      Those monks have taken a stand for justice at the cost of their lives. 
      In the face of the PRC attempting to displace them, desecrate their holy sites, exile their leaders, and to effectively ethnically cleanse them by thinning out and breeding out their DNA, how do you suggest to those people that they and we “be real?” 

      1. Bit of a false dochotomy…Awful things are happening, and you can’t seem to affect things, so naturally the only solution is burn yourself to death.

        Get real as in: realize these tactics are not going to do anything to change the situation. Continuing to live at least leaves open a slight chance that something you do might make a difference. Get the kids out so they can save the culture elsewhere, try to save relics and books. But to just give up and set yourself on fire is not going to do anything except traumatize your families and remove your ability to do anything in the future.

        1. People suicide because their lives are worthless to them, due to anguish or mental illness or oppressive outside influences.  Criticizing their actions, methods and motives after the fact is pointless and heartless.  Show some fucking compassion.

          Regardless of whether they suicide for freedom or for God or to remove the “stain” of rape or sin or just to stop the pain, people who kill themselves obviously see death as a better choice than enduring the continuance of their lives.  Sure, a suicide can try to make some political point or blow up some enemies – but those things are just a sort of add-on, away to get at least some hope for good out of a last act of desperation.

          Anyplace with lots of young, healthy suicides is a fucked up, broken place.

          Sorry about the strong language.

  3. — many of the monks and nuns are either in exile, or performing some very specific role in Tibet, and most have realised that all things are impermanent, but death involves a great deal of the-end-of-other-sentient-beings’-investments-in-the-sangha-as-embodied-by-the-practitioner. Self-immolation by laypeople with the aim of changing or protesting the Chinese government’s actions in Tibet, is likely to be driven by egoism. It is a sacrifice, but it involves the forfeiture of all further sacrifice and “karmic advancement”.
    It is most often better to live; no-one un-enlightened can foresee circumstances.

  4. Every time I read about this, I’m reminded of Bukowski’s poem ‘On the fire suicides of the buddhists’.  Saying maybe politics is just scratching the surface of this.

    original courage is good,
    motivation be damned,
    and if you say they are trained
    to feel no pain,
    are they
    guaranteed this?
    is it still not possible
    to die for somebody else?

    you sophisticates
    who lay back and
    make statements of explanation,
    I have seen the red rose burning
    and this means more.

  5. Much like the massacre of the native Americans, Incas and so on, these deaths will serve as a reminder to future peoples of the importance of freedom, and how much we as a race are willing to suffer to have it.

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