Trouble Brewing in Tibet?
Image Credit: Jody McIntyre

Trouble Brewing in Tibet?


A teenage former monk in Tibet has reportedly set himself on fire, the eighth self-immolation this year in what has become an increasingly restive region.

Reuters reports that the 19-year-old former monk at the Kirti monastery in Aba prefecture in China’s Sichuan Province ‘set himself on fire on Saturday, according to Zorgyi, an India-based exiled Tibetan activist, and the London-based Free Tibet group.’

‘The police extinguished the flames and beat the man, the researcher said, adding that he did not die in the course of his protest. His whereabouts are unknown,’ Reuters added.

The latest incident follows a report earlier this week by Human Rights Watch warning that China’s dramatic ramping up of security in the region may actually be exacerbating unrest there.

According to the group, the Chinese government has imposed ‘drastic restrictions’ on Tibetan monasteries following widespread protests in 2008. ‘These measures include brutal security raids, arbitrary detentions of monks, increased surveillance within monasteries, and a permanent police presence inside monasteries to monitor religious activities.’

‘Security measures designed to curtail the right to free expression, association, and religious belief in Tibetan monasteries are not legitimate,’ said Human Rights Watch China Director Sophie Richardson. ‘Even worse, those measures are exacerbating the tensions. Instead, the government should address the region's underlying grievances.’

Human Rights Watch for its part counted six self-immolations this year, excluding Saturday’s reported incident, including Phuntsok Jarutsang, ‘who set himself on fire on March 16 to commemorate the March 2008 uprisings in the region. Security personnel tried to extinguish the flames but also allegedly beat Phuntsok, who died the next day, leading to protests in the following days and weeks by more than 1,000 lay Tibetans and monks.’

These incidents come at a particularly sensitive time, with the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama outlining a timeframe for his decision on whether to name a successor. Last month, in a statement on his website, the Dalai Lama said that when he is ‘about 90’ he will consult the ‘high Lamas of the Tibetan Buddhist traditions, the Tibetan public, and other concerned people who follow Tibetan Buddhism, and re-evaluate whether the institution of the Dalai Lama should continue or not.’

However, he made it clear that China should have no say in naming his successor. China for its part sees the Dalai Lama as a dangerous separatist and has criticized world leaders for meeting with him, arguing that to do so is to meddle in China’s internal affairs.

The Dalai Lama says that he isn’t a separatist, and that he is only interested in seeking autonomy for Tibet.

December 18, 2011 at 06:43

The government’s heavy hand in Tibet and the rest of China needs to lighten up.
Stability is their goal but at what cost? People need an outlet to express their frustrations. Maybe a more secure and confident China will be able to lighten up.

Interesting that the Dalai lama was slow to react. You’d think he would immediately plead the monks not to do it. That would have helped improve the government’s perception of him and expedited the stalled negotiations.

October 24, 2011 at 18:58

Which part of freedom of expression you do not understand?

Only westerners can speak?

October 21, 2011 at 15:56

I have full confident that sooner rather later you and many others will understand and appreciate all that I have expressed or written. Why ? Because even I(a well known CCP) feel a sense of regret to be the one who speak objectively most of the time while you and many others( free and democratically influenced ) were resorting to sentimetal attributes and at time were forced to make self-cancelled remarks/assertions to pressent your arguments.
At the same time, I am thankful for your rebuttal posts because they served to support and solidify what I have written.
P.S. Freedoms,like Democracy is yet another vague and generalized word to describe the degree of liberty people in different countries and within different unique social envirnments and that turn out to be dislead to the least and out-right unkind-intents to mis-inform at worst. Visiters inside an enclosed cage looking out were not free-the tiger realming around that enclosure truely was enjoying its liberty of space and fresh air.

October 21, 2011 at 00:49

@Huang: You, like yangzi, are quite a smart individual, that you can argue your point of view. However, you’re limited by the lack of free thinking that only a democratic society can provide you. Therefore, you will never out-debate people like Oro or nirvana or Huy. On another note, you can never conceal your true intention in your writing. Well, you can do that for a while, but sooner or later your true intention will surface, as I’ve witnessed.

October 20, 2011 at 22:33

I would be delighted to congratulate Ore if everyone feel the same way as you are since it would only mean I have a lot more to learn and make no mistake about it,I always am do need to learn lots and lots of good stuffs out there.
Propably it was because of my somewhat straight forward responses to other’s emotionally charged manners in their opposing views toward my posts. If I in any way offended any other party or parties, I am sincerely apologizing and would try not to response to rants and venting of frustrations from some bloggers toward my what I wrote on this site.
Fanally, I often use ” Socialism with Chinese Characteristics” and other phrases in my posts and I recently realized that there are some people(for some reasons)are deeply uncomfortable by it. To them,I just have to say, ” you need to open up your heart and mind a little more and the monster you saw was actually an angel waving at you telling you how beautiful the World is.”

October 20, 2011 at 02:03

@Huang: I find both you and Oro Invictus to have the capability to express yourselves well. However, on fact-based presentation, Oro Invictus is way ahead of you. You only speak of what had bee fed to you by the CCP without much free thinking. On the point of having regards for other human beings, Oro Invictus is again way ahead of you, since for you there’s no others but chinese, thus your view is very narrow and selfish. So, stop badmouth Oro Invictus and stick to debates.

October 19, 2011 at 21:42

@oro evictus,
There is another possibility why your post or posts were not posted according to your wishes and it have to do with the language(offensive,degraded,or no substances) you used to vent your grievances(all are your own doings). I understand that you wanted to debate my what I wrote. Unfortunately, you just kept on ranting and venting at what I wrote with nothing other than un-related incidents as a way to question my sensibilities or symphanies toward the Tibetans who happen to be brothers and sisters to me. Merely associating any tragic incidents occurred in China in your statements was the ultimate lack of sensitivity and not very conscientious thing for any kind hearted individual to do.
In addition, I did bother to response to many of your assertions with regards to other bloggers for not using their Chinese or Indian names because this is just a public forum and anonymity is what most people want when they join the discusions.
Beside, oro evictic is not your name either.
I don’t care who,what profession,where,or what country you identify yourself with or whether your actually have been to China is NOT important. What you said about any topic is automatically reveiling the degree of knowledge you have on the subject.
Furthermore, there is nothing to win on this forum in the first place. Either everyone is a winner or everyone is a loser when none can “take the heat” and express each’s opposing views in a constructive and convincing manner.
P.S. ” If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen(discussion).

Oro Invictus
October 19, 2011 at 13:21

@ Huang

Hmm… I think something is wrong with the Diplomat’s posting system (or perhaps my browser is acting up), this is the second time my post was placed in reply to the wrong comment. Anyways, please see above to see my reply to your comment.

Oro Invictus
October 19, 2011 at 13:19


You’re still dodging what I’m talking about; not surprising, as (to use a converse paraphrasing of Nietzsche) when you look into yourself, you look into the void. Self-introspection is never pleasant, but crucial to prevent one from losing their humanity. Also, suggesting that these small pieces I post provide a clear insight into the complete working of my pathos is really quite insulting. Indeed, although I oft make note of yours’ and others’ reactions and such to provide insight into said minds (psychology is somewhat of a hobby of mine, though it is also tangentially connected to my own work), I would never be as presumptuous to assume these things define you in your entirety. The most one can gain from these is an idea of the persona a person utilizes, not what truly lies beneath.

Furthermore, I would like to remind you that passive-aggressiveness is frowned upon in these forums of opinion; if anything, it just proves how little faith you put in your own arguments when you choose to denounce me back-handedly instead of conversing openly. Every time you ignore my questions while still seeing fit to criticize me on insubstantial matters you further condemn yourself; in other words, if you’re going to call me nonconstructive or dishonest, have the courtesy to actually provide some evidence.

October 19, 2011 at 07:34

China should just do an America and transfer all tibetans to reservations.

October 19, 2011 at 00:25

@oro evictus,
Thank you for your elaborate descriptions of what was on your mind. You have opened a window into your mind and I think I know exactly whats in it even though I do not agree and not very please to see or want to know much about. I think I have seen the very bottom of it already.
Any way, its your personal opinions and you have all the right to express them. Its your mouth or mouth-piece, you are free to opened it up as much as your capacity allowed.
Nevertheless, I would prefer to see honest,un-tangled,un-tainted and constructive views used to express any views contrary to mine.
P.S. Be kind-Be polite-Be creative-and more importantly be honest.

October 19, 2011 at 00:06

What ever the 50 cents party you referred to, I guess they are paying so much attention to the Diplomat the on the same reason you have.
I also think all other 25 cents , 5 cents, or i cents are visiting the site the same reason you have too.

Oro Invictus
October 18, 2011 at 22:35


Very well, although logic dictates the specificity of the various points you outlined indicate otherwise, I will proceed under the assumption you weren’t focusing on me. In any case, even if you are acting in the capacity of a mouth-piece, you still deserve some credit for not pretending to be “from the West” as so many of the other pro-CPC commentators clearly do here and elsewhere (honestly, most of them don’t even take the time to study basic linguistic patterns, cultural syntax, and/or morphological and semantical derivations).

Anyways, while I still believe that your previous post was sufficiently self-condemnatory, allow me to expound upon these matters since you took the time to reply. While I appreciate and encourage individual opination, when these either espouse hateful doctrine and/or deny well-documented events, they become deleterious in regards to the human endeavour. I’ve already gone over the logical and the various sources which place much of yours and other pro-CPC persons clearly in the aforementioned category and won’t repeat myself; the only thing I will say is I find it troubling how you and others are so willing to turn a blind eye to the tragedy in Tibet and elsewhere our of love of nation (be it due to fear, coin, and/or conditioning), when in truth you should love the Tibetans and anyone else in equal measure.

Since you self-identify as Chinese (as defined by PRC citizenship), I will assume you felt some outrage and/or sadness over that recent video of the two-year-old who was run over, be it as either a fellow human being and/or a fellow countryman. I also suspect that you wouldn’t argue over the validity of events, given the vast amount of data (most notably being the video) which gives credence to the events being true to what was reported. Now consider the people walking by, leaving her there, out of fear of punishment due to odious lawsuit or indifference born by loyalty to themselves and their family. Those feelings you have, those thoughts you compose, that it what so many are feeling and thinking right now about the Tibetans, the rural immigrants, the non-Han Chinese, anyone who is abused by the PRC. By completely disregarding these peoples’ plights and dismissing them, you are acting no different than those who would not help that child.

And with every step you take and refuse to help, the ground becomes more sodden with blood.

October 18, 2011 at 21:28

@oro invictus,
Actually, I was not critizing YOU as you may have mis-understood. Propably, there were part of what I wrote led you to believe that I was directing at you specifically- it was intended as a “broad-stroke” message to many posts I came upon on this site that I saw the need to let them know. It was merely meant to promote true and fairness without an urge to pretend since this is a public forum,NOT some tight,small,closed,secret meeting where sentiments and emotions are upheld if they fit the beliefs of the participants within the group.
Finally, I saw NO need to response to your reply with regard to my post because I think that was just different views from a different perspective. In fact, I would rather have more people dis-agree with me since that is one of the best ways to understand the issue in another totally different angle.
P.S. If everyone is agreeing with me, thats when I have to look closely at what I wrote.

Peter Jackson
October 18, 2011 at 06:23

Once again, these monks are used as tools and stooges by the Dalai and his American Master.
I suppose, they means nothing to them and are treated as sacrificial pawns.
I really think, these young monks are being encouraged to set themselves on fire on behalf of their Lama in an attempt to embarrass China.
Religion and politic is a potent mix and best kept apart.

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