Tibetan Student Burns in Protest


Throughout history both Tibet and China had an extremely complex relationship, summarized best as a constant power struggle over time. That being said since the early 1950’s, Tibet has been dominantly ruled by China and its Army, which sought to destroy Tibetan cultural and national identities. This is often described by the Tibetan people as a cultural genocide. Many of them felt that the way they practiced there certain religious cultures and traditions, was being destroyed by political repression from China. The Tibetan people eventually tried to overthrow the Chinese regime, however this lead to the fourteenth Dalai Lama to flee. During the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) the Chinese army destroyed many symbols of Tibetan life such as temples and monasteries. The Tibetans way of life was certainly diminishing all for political empowerment.

As a result of these events mass protests have been huge amongst the Tibetan community. Many of the Tibetan people felt that the oppression of the Chinese regime should be stopped and can be stopped through mass gatherings. This however wasn’t the case, despite massive protests in communities all around the world, not much changed. This sets up the idea of desperate time’s calls for desperate measures. Self immolation protests, which is the concept of burning one’s self alive for a means of protest, began in 2009. Now this desperate means of protest is exactly what happened on the week of September 22, 2014 when a Tibetan student (age 22) burned himself alive to protest Chinese rule over Tibet. This was all done outside of a police agency in the western province of Gansu. Now this self immortalization was the 132nd case since 2009.

Although this idea of self immortalization has been unfortunately seen multiple times it seems that much like the mass protests it stands for nothing. It seems that the Chinese government cares very little for individual Tibetan culture and tradition, and this idea of occupying Tibet for a political means is far more important. To me it seems that the only way both China and Tibet can come to peaceful terms would be through government communication, although this is much easier said than done. That being said I can see the argument that mass protests and self immortalization raise public awareness, but to me I feel that through a communist state they will do just that and not much more. It’s hard not to feel pity for the Tibetan people who are essentially being oppressed by a tyrannical Chinese government, and it’s especially hard to see that no matter what degree of severity an individual pursues to raise awareness, it seems to make little difference amongst the issue



One thought on “Tibetan Student Burns in Protest

  1. I understand that the people of Tibet feel very oppressed and there are major protests and actions which Tibetan’s are trying to use to separate themselves from the Chinese. However, I do believe that you should further look into the self-immolation. This self-immolation process is usually done by the monks and its because of the belief of reincarnation (beginning a new life in a new body after death). Its a very interesting idea and I believe you would be interested in further exploring monks who do practice this ritual… Although they are using self-immolation as a form of protest there is much more then just lighting themselves on fire and “taking their own lives”.


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