Tibetan teenager becomes 8th child to self-immolate to protest Chinese rule

Wangchen Kyi, a 17-year-old girl, set herself on fire "on the grasslands of an ethnic Tibetan region in western China" on Sunday, becoming the eighth child to burn themselves alive to protest Chinese oppression in Tibet. More than 90 people have self-immolated in Tibet since February, 2009; the numbers have surged in recent weeks. (WaPo)


  1. what is china doing to these people that they are willing to burn themselves alive?  i keep hearing they want to be free of chinese oppression but what exactly is going on over there that self immolation is preferable?

    1. Obviously it’s a sacrifice that they are willing to make for the greater good of their people and their future.
      It doesn’t mean that theoretically every day under Chinese oppression is just as bad as setting yourself on fire (or worse).

    2. I think it’s a terrible waste of life, because even if they were to regain full political autonomy by tomorrow, their traditional culture would still disintegrate.

      1. Perhaps they feel that the only world in which political autonomy is even partly likely is the one in which they shock it into paying attention.
        Culture changes, I don’t think they are killing themselves for a shot at maintaining the status-quo.

    3. Compulsory abortions, Infanticide, Sterilization, rape followed by forcing women to bear strangers… Yeah, there are worse things than self immolation. 
      1,000,000 of your people slaughtered in the name of “Progress” during the great leap forward (best policy name EVAR with a runner up for “Manifest Destiny”)

      Don’t worry though, I’m sure the United States will roundly condemn the PRC any day now.

      These threads inevitably have someone come forward with “there must be a better way, these people are fools, what a waste of life” etc. As if they have an option. 

      Tibet needs the attention, compassion, and Action from the rest of the world.

    1. Do please lay out your plan for the Tibetan people to secure self-determination and human rights.

      1. Killing themselves sure as hell isn’t going to result in anything but their own extinction. Self-immolation is the civil disobedience equivalent of a child saying they’re going to hold their breath until the die just because they’re pissed off about something. I don’t know much about the Tibetan situation because, quite frankly, I couldn’t care less…but I *do* know that suicide is the least effective means of protest there is. You *know* the Chinese “security forces” just laugh anytime one of these folks torch themselves; it saves them the trouble of having to arrest him/her.

        1. I don’t know much about the Tibetan situation because, quite frankly, I couldn’t care less.

          So you don’t care about their fate, but you are willing to criticize their tactics. How distasteful.

          1. Regardless of my interest (or lack thereof) of a people’s issues, *someone* has to point out how stupid these so-called tactics are. Fortunately, the only persons injured in these infantile actions are the people who set themselves on fire. I’m just glad the Tibetans are clearly smart enough not to take that extra step and go the suicide-bomber route.

          2. Dear former “collegiate” English teacher,

            Your dismissal of desperate tactics in a struggle about which you admittedly know nothing, tactics chosen by people you dismiss as “stupid” without, again, knowing anything about their struggle — that dismissal of yours is making me sick.

            If you’re so proud of being “collegiate,” how about doing some research before spouting off in such an ironically idiotic manner?

  2. Monks are encouraging kids to burn themselves to death; does no one else find this utterly disgusting? Even the Dalai Lama is in on this child abuse: “I am quite certain those cases who sacrificed their own life for sincere motivation, for Buddha dharma for wellbeing of the people, from the Buddhist view point, from the religious view point, it is positive”. http://bigstory.ap.org/article/activists-8th-tibetan-child-self-immolates
    If adults want to do it, that’s one thing, but these kids are being used in the most horrendous fashion imaginable by people who hold themselves out as moral authorities. The cause is just, and its certainly not clear what tactics would work to advance it (quite possibly none at all), but it doesn’t follow that every tactic can be condoned. 

      1. I did, because I don’t see the relevance to my point. He is encouraging suicide, and appears to have no issues with kids doing it, when he could save the lives of children by objecting. The rest of the quote is a motherhood statement about torching yourself with the right mindset. 

        Millie Fink: the quote itself is direct evidence (“from the Buddhist view point, from the religious view point, it is positive”). I think we can safely infer that the monks are following the DL’s example, and for whatever its worth, the chinese authorities have arrested monks for encouraging the behaviour.

          1. He’s emphasised the fact that he considers the behaviour positive. Nothing he says subsequently alters that. He could have uttered words here that would save lives, but he chose not to. The kindest interpretation of his words is that he finds the tactic regrettable but necessary. At any rate, he seems a lot more cynical than Westerners generally realise.

  3. Just in case anyone here doesn’t know: The Chinese government pays people to respond immediately, and negatively, to any Internet posts that could increase the world’s awareness of what it’s doing in Tibet. I think it’s safe to say that’s what’s happening in this thread.

  4. Sure, tuvaorbust, all of us who think that self immolation is a pointless and ineffective method of protest are on China’s payroll.  I’m using my check to buy a new Xbox 360.

  5. Someone should point out that the age of consent in China, Tibet included, is 14. Calling the victim a teenager is correct, calling the victim a child is misleading. As far as they’re concerned the girl was an adult. Even under American eyes, when someone says “child” people don’t usually think of late-teens, they think of someone much younger.

    Obviously this is terrible and should not be happening but I hate it when words are thrown around by people under technicality who know fully well how they’ll be interpreted by their readers.

        1. You missed your own point. You wrote “I hate it when words are thrown around by people under technicality who know fully well how they’ll be interpreted by their readers”, without acknowledging that there are large populations brainwashed into thinking the Dalai Lama is something like a deity. As a result, his words cause teenagers to burn themselves.

          Incidentally, pointing out that the Dalai Lama cult has its drawbacks is quite consistent with opposing religious indoctrination in general (especially the kind that costs lives). Its also consistent with acknowledging that the DL says many nice things and seems a very genial fellow. It’s a stance that certainly doesn’t make me a Chinese spy or whatever. If the pope, Pat Robertson, Ayatollah Khamanei or Louis Farrakhan were getting teenagers to burn themselves, they’d have very little support around here I suspect. Even if they did add that the deaths were “very sad”.

          1. The biggest difference is that the Dalai Lama can get people who are not his followers to make excuses for him. The others just don’t have that kind of charm.

Comments are closed.