Burning Tibet (December 12, 2012) Growing numbers of Tibetans resort to self-immolation demanding freedom from China’s colonial rule.
The news regarding Tibetan self-immolations speaks for itself: According to writer and activist Joshua Eaton, there have been 94 self-immolations inside Tibet since 2009, with twenty-eight Tibetans self-immolated in November alone (names, dates here).
China’s response? Massive surveillance and guards with fire extinguishers. Everyone else’s response: mostly nothing.
What can Tibetans do? The most powerful thing that Tibetans can do, is to raise awareness outside of China-occupied Tibet.
And it is just this realization that is driving so many to take their own lives in this manner – or, as they may understand it, to offer their own lives. This is a selfless act, motivated not out of self-hatred or a desire to die but out of deep compassion for others. The act also signals extreme frustration and suffering.
A post on Save Tibetan that offers some perspective from China:
Tibet Is Burning (...) I am sorry we Han Chinese have been silent as Nangdrol and his fellow Tibetans are dying for freedom. We are victims ourselves, living in estrangement, infighting, hatred and destruction. We share this land. It’s our shared home, our shared responsibility, our shared dream — and it will be our shared deliverance. Xu Zhiyong, a ...
Dalai Lama Speaks Of Direct Threat From China (March 12, 2012) Dharamsala, India — The Dalai Lama says that Chinese agents are training Tibetans for a mission to murder him.
Telegraph reports: "Some Chinese agents training some Tibetans, especially women, you see, using poison – the hair poisoned, and the scarf poisoned – they were supposed to seek blessing from me, and my hand touch" - says the Tibetan leader.
China and the Tibetan government-in-exile in India have long history of mutual suspicion which only intensifies over the time.
More than 30 self-immolations by Tibetans occurred just in the last year to protest Chinese marginalization of Tibetan language, religion and culture.
The Dalai Lama also told Telegraph that Chinese interference may mean he is the last Dalai Lama, and that Tibetans could decided to abandon the institution.
News From Tibet And The World - 2011
Dalai Lama's Retirement (March 29, 2011) Dharamsala, India — The Dalai Lama says proposal to retire from his political role as head of the government-in-exile (ending a 370-year-old tradition and agreeing to constitutional changes) is necessary to establish a more democratic, and sustainable, system for leading the 150,000 Tibetans who live in exile, and for pushing the non-violent campaign aimed at gaining greater autonomy for Tibet.
“If we have to remain in exile for several more decades, a time will inevitably come when I will no longer be able to provide leadership,” the Dalai Lama said in a message to the parliament. “Therefore, it is necessary that we establish a sound system of governance while I remain able and healthy.”
The Dalai Lama says he will continue to act as a spiritual leader, much as previous Dalai Lamas did before 1642, when the Fifth Dalai Lama was enthroned both spiritual and political leader following Tibet’s unification under the Mongol prince Gushri Khan.
The current Dalai Lama’s own successor will be selected in the traditional manner, with senior lamas identifying a young boy as his re-incarnation after his death.
The Dalai Lama has previously suggested a range of options, including appointing his own successor, having a Prime Minister, and a referendum among his followers to decide whether he should be reincarnated at all.
The next Prime Minister, the Karmapa Lama (the third highest in the Tibetan Buddhist hierarchy) will act as a “regent” to lead after the Dalai Lama’s death until his reincarnation is old enough to take over.
The constitutional changes agreed upon Friday entail the abolition of the regency, which traditionally handled Tibet’s government in the period between the death of one Dalai Lama and the completion of his successor’s education.
News From Tibet And The World - 2010
The First Airline In Tibet (June 22, 2010) State Media BEIJING — The first airline based in Tibet will launch its first high-altitude domestic flights in the middle of 2011.
Tibet Airlines will operate flights within Tibet, and link the capital Lhasa with other major cities across China.
In the first quarter of this year, a total of 177,000 tourists visited the picturesque region, up 27.8 percent from the same period a year ago, official data showed.
President Obama Meets With The Dalai Lama (February 18, 2010) The Boston Globe / CNN WASHINGTON — The long awaited meeting of the two Nobel Peace Prize laureates delivered a message which told Tibetans that the White House recognizes the Dalai Lama as their legitimate leader in the struggle to preserve Tibet’s unique religious, cultural, and linguistic identity and the protection of human rights for Tibetans in the People’s Republic of China.
Additionally, the recent poll by CNN shows that nearly three-quarters of all Americans think Tibet should be an independent country.
The Dalai Lama is popular with Americans, according to the survey, with 56 percent holding a favorable view of him.
The poll also indicates that 53 percent say it's more important for the United States to take a strong stand on human rights in China than to maintain good relations with Beijing.
The meeting of president Obama and the Dalai Lama clearly shows the uncompromising policy of the US on issues of human rights, religious freedom in Tibet, and the cultural survival of Tibetans. It is also seen as willingness of Obama to stand up to Beijing.
News From Tibet And The World - 2009
Tibet Tourism Surges in 2009 (October 14, 2009) AFP BEIJING — A record 4.75 million tourists visited China's Tibet in the first nine months of 2009, more than twice as many as in all of 2008, when unrest led to a ban on foreigners, state media said Wednesday.
The local government slashed the cost of holiday packages, hotels and tickets to draw tourists back to the picturesque Himalayan region, Xinhua news agency reported.
"It's a high point for Tibet's tourism industry," director of the regional tourism bureau was quoted as saying, without providing a breakdown for foreign and domestic tourist numbers.
China banned foreign tourists from visiting Tibet after deadly anti-Chinese riots erupted in Lhasa and across the Tibetan plateau in March 2008.
The number of visitors to the region fell to 2.2 million in 2008 as compared with four million the year before.
Beijing also barred foreigners in March of this year during the tense 50th anniversary of a failed 1959 uprising against China that sent the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, into exile.
Foreign tourists must obtain special permission from China's government to enter Tibet, where resentment against Chinese control has seethed for decades.
Spanish Judge Wants To Question Chinese Leaders Over Tibet (May 08, 2009) AFP / Expatica Spanish judge wants to question eight senior Chinese officials as suspects in a genocide case linked to the region.
Spanish National Court judge Santiago Pedraz said Tuesday he wanted to investigate a crackdown on unrest that erupted in Tibet on 14 March 2008 after four days of peaceful protests against Chinese rule.
A suit was filed against the Chinese officials in July 2008 by a Tibetan rights groups, the Tibet Support Committee, and accepted by the court the following month, just days before the opening of the Beijing Olympics.
It "denounces the new wave of oppression that began in Tibet on 10 March 2008, and just goes to prove that acts of genocide continue to be committed against the Tibetan people".
The Tibetan government-in-exile says 203 Tibetans were killed and about 1,000 hurt in China's subsequent crackdown. Beijing insists that only one "insurgent" was killed and has accused the "rioters" of killing 21 people.
The suit also "denounces China's manipulation of the global war against terrorism in its attempt to justify and cover up crimes against humanity committed against the Tibetan people."