Tragic, depressing, infuriating. Via AFP:
A Tibetan monk doused himself in petrol in a Kathmandu restaurant on Wednesday and set himself on fire, marking the 100th self-immolation bid in a wave of protests against Chinese rule since 2009.
Police in the Nepalese capital told AFP that the exile had burned himself in an eatery near Kathmandu’s Boudhanath Stupa, one of the world’s holiest Buddhist shrines, terrifying tourists who were having breakfast.
Yup, that’s 100, according to the Tibetan government, which is keeping track.
The gruesome burnings, most of which have occurred in Tibetan-inhabited areas of China, are seen as a sign of desperation in the community over perceived religious persecution in Chinese-ruled Tibet.
Speaking to AFP ahead of the milestone of 100 cases, Tibetan exile prime minister Lobsang Sangay blamed Chinese authorities and called for the international community to take note.
“Because there is no freedom of speech or outlet for any form of protest, unfortunately Tibetans have chosen self-immolations,” he said in an interview in Dharamshala.
“To the international community I say ‘stand up for Tibetans’. The Chinese government has completely militarised the Tibetan area,” he added.
He should probably also address Tibetans, perhaps ask them to stop setting themselves on fire.
The Dalai Lama’s office in New Delhi confirmed the 100th immolation attempt involved a monk. Representative Tempa Tsering called it “very unfortunate” and repeated appeals from the spiritual leader for Tibetans to end the protests.
“We feel very said that this has happened. The Tibetan leadership has been urging people to refrain from such drastic steps for long,” Tsering said.
Suicide contradicts Buddhist teachings that all life is sacred, and Tibetan leaders have struggled to balance anger over Chinese rule with calls for protesters not to use such desperate measures.