Tibetans have established a society that is heavily based on religion, one where politics and religion intermingle. This has caused tension as the Chinese have attempted to incorporate their own politics, attempting to use religious figures as instruments to gain support in their claim over Tibet and threatening those figures, such as the Dalai Lama, who do not show their support. Whereas Tibet views itself as an autonomous country, China differs in opinion and considers Tibet simply an extension of China. This has caused immense conflicts as China has attempted to impose changes to the political system within Tibet and has been met with resistance.
As mentioned previously, the spiritual leader in Tibet, the Dalai Lama, is also the political leader. Whereas the rest of the world has attempted to restrict the association between spiritual and political leaders, as Jeremy Bentham advocated in the 1700’s along with many other social reformists, Tibet on the other hand has held fast the belief that the two cannot be separated. As China has endeavored to introduce changes to the political system within Tibet through their leaders, they have encountered resistance. This resistance has been countered with brutal measures implemented by the Chinese army, which has forced the Dalai Lama to flee the country and seek refuge in India. Tibetan monks in turn have increased their campaigns against China’s intrusion in Tibet’s affairs by protesting in the streets as well as acts of self-immolation, or igniting themselves on fire.
The article discusses a recent case where two monks were arrested for their protests of the situation, advocating for the freedom of Tibet from the hands of the Chinese, as well as the return of the Dalai Lama. The article discusses the brutal means by which the Chinese handle their prisoners, torturing them and harassing them. This however does not dishearten the monks, as they seek social justice and their rights to freedom. The two monks arrested were sentenced to prison and were not even given lawyers for their defense.
Throughout this period of unrest, there have been countless monks arrested as well as 125 cases of self-immolation since March 2011. Religious nationalism is resilient in Tibet and these displays and protests will continue until China ceases its efforts at controlling Tibet and allows the Dalai Lama to return safely. The world needs to pay more attention as to what is going on between China and Tibet and something needs to be done so that additional innocent people do not take their lives in demonstration of their beliefs and objections of what China is forcing upon them.