I wrote the following for the ICT blog some days back in my attempt to put the developments in Ngapa in context. I hope this serves as a food for thought to some of the readers.


Introspecting on the self-immolations by Tibetans
Bhuchung K Tsering
October 18, 2011

I have been trying to find possible reasons for the ongoing tragic developments in the eastern Tibetan region of Ngapa where now nine Tibetans have indulged in self-immolation, some with fatal consequences. Therefore, I tried looking up reports from Ngapa for the past year or so to see if there was a clue there.

The immediate cause seems to be Chinese response to the pan-Tibetan demonstrations in 2008. “On March 16, 2008, at least 10 Tibetans – including a 16-year-old schoolgirl, Lhundup Tso – were shot dead when police opened fire on unarmed Tibetans who had joined a spontaneous protest following a morning prayer session at Kirti monastery,” an ICT report began.

In subsequent months the Chinese authorities resorted to force to resolve the issue rather than trying to find the underlying cause and to address them. While reporting the self-immolation by a monk from Kirti Monastery, our another report said more than a year later, “In February 2009, a Kirti monk in his mid-twenties was shot by security personnel when he set himself on fire as a form of protest after prayer ceremonies at the monastery were cancelled, according to several sources in the area. The monk, Tapey, had been holding a home-made Tibetan flag that had at its center a photograph of the Dalai Lama.”

“The security crackdown in Ngaba has been particularly severe following the March 16, 2008 incident. Many more monks and laypeople have been detained, tortured or ‘disappeared’ since then, and during police raids on their monastery photographs of the Dalai Lama and senior religious leaders were destroyed,” it added. Continue reading “Introspecting on the self-immolations by Tibetans”