Facebook censoring images of Tibetan monks who are self-immolating to protest China

Ethnic Tibetan women pray around the Labrang Monastery ahead of the Tibetan New Year which starts on Wednesday in Xiahe county

The nonprofit group International Campaign for Tibet will today deliver a petition to Facebook headquarters demanding that the company not censor images of Tibetan monks' self-immolation.

The online petition has around 20,000 signatures, and was sparked by Facebook's deletion of a post about a Buddhist monk's self-immolation in Tibet.

From the group's announcement:

In late December 2014, prominent Tibetan writer Tsering Woeser posted a video of a Buddhist monk's self-immolation in Tibet to Facebook. It was deleted shortly after because it allegedly violated the social media giant's community standards. When Woeser reposted the information from another user's account, Facebook did not delete it. ICT hopes Facebook will make a commitment not to censor this type of content in the future.

"I welcome that Facebook responded to our petition that has received support from all over the world, and appreciate the fact that since then, videos of self immolations have not been removed," says Matteo Mecacci, president of ICT. "At the same time, we want to take this opportunity to make sure that "graphic concerns" will not be used again to silence Tibetans or any other voices critical of China's policies."

At the ICT website, there's a list of the self-immolations by Tibetans in the PRC since February, 2009. Of the 136 total, all but one took place in Tibet. A separate list tracks self-immolations by Tibetans in exile.