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Tibetan Monk Sets Himself on Fire in China

Tibetan Monk Sets Himself on Fire in China

 

Earlier today, a Tibetan monk set himself on fire in southwestern China in front of a local government building.  He was the second monk to die of self-immolation this year, in a growing wave of protest against repressive Chinese policies toward Tibetan monasteries and culture.  Witnesses said that the monk, named Tsewang Norbu, called out “We Tibetan people want freedom,” “Long live the Dalai Lama,” and “Let the Dalai Lama return to Tibet” as he died.

“I saw a monk lying on the ground and burning, he died right in front of the county government building. Before setting himself on fire, he was distributing leaflets,” an anonymous receptionist told the AFP.

Many monks in the area still pledge their allegiance to the exiled Dalai Lama, who fled China in 1959.  Allegations that monks have been forcibly removed from their monasteries and sent to “re-education camps” have been denied by the Chinese government, but anger and resentment are clearly rising in the area.  Norbu was from the Nyitso Monastery in Tawu.

The self-immolation of another monk, Phuntsok, earlier this year, spurred intense crackdowns in the region.  In a press release, the organization Free Tibet expressed its anxiety that similar violent action could occur in the wake of Norbu’s death.

“We have grave concerns over what could unfold in Tawu,” Director Stephanie Brigden observed.  ”In the last few hours telephone lines have been cut and internet cafes closed in an effort to control news spreading across Tibet and to prevent news being shared with the outside world. We have received reports that the army has surrounded the monastery. We call on the Chinese authorities to act proportionately.”

We will, of course, let you know if Chinese authorities do not act appropriately, and if further violence unfolds in this troubled region of China.  In the meantime, we can mourn the death of another monk who lost his life while protesting human rights and religious freedom abuses in Tibet.

Related Stories:

In Solidarity: Two Months of Chaos for Tibet’s Kirti Monks

Crackdown on Tibetan Monks

Tibet Still Waits for Its Panchan Lama

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Photo from waterwin via flickr.

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65 comments

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5:18AM PST on Mar 6, 2012

My heart is with the people of Tibet now. I hope they find freedom.
The spirits are with them....

1:57PM PDT on Sep 22, 2011

what a brave monk. very good way to get attention but i hope his family is ok.

4:10AM PDT on Aug 22, 2011

Awful way to protest!

12:53AM PDT on Aug 22, 2011

There is no such thing as Human Rights in China - period.

8:59PM PDT on Aug 21, 2011

SHAME ON GOVT

8:37PM PDT on Aug 21, 2011

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear. ~Ambrose Redmoon

8:36PM PDT on Aug 21, 2011

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear. ~Ambrose Redmoon

7:15PM PDT on Aug 21, 2011

{The division into "North" and "South" was artificial, and NEVER accepted by the people of Viet Nam; even tho the U.S. and other govts -- and the Vatican! -- accepted it!} {You let the Vatican into politics -- you got trouble! as this shows!}

I am CERTAIN that the Buddhist monks in Tibet know all about the sacrifice the Buddhist monk made so many decades ago, for the sake of their Religion in a land many miles away. And that that act was VERY influential on subsequent events -- as that of the two monks who immolated themselves in Tibet, may very well also be. You just CAN'T keep that sort of news from being heard and spread!

7:13PM PDT on Aug 21, 2011

I am not a Communist or a Communist sympathizer {or a Catholic!}; I am just TRYING TO SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT.
The Buddhist monk who set himself on fire in South Vietnam, was PROTESTING THE CATHOLIC AUTOCRACY OPPRESSING HIS COUNTRY, with foreign U.S. help.
This act, whatever you may think of it, certainly SET A STANDARD OF PROTEST FOR GENERATIONS TO COME; from the street vendor in Tunis that set off the Egyptian protests and "Arab Spring", to the present Tibetan Buddhist monks. I don't think he, or they, will EVER be forgotten. In South Viet Nam, the monk who set himself on fire was entirely caught on camera; impressively, the monk REMAINED IN A LOTUS POSITION WITHOUT MOVING all the time the fire burned, until his body was consumed! UNBELIEVABLE self-control, only thru Religious Devotion I'm sure!
The monk's self-immolation really crystallized RESISTANCE WITHIN SOUTH VIETNAM, AGAINST THEIR CATHOLIC DICTATORSHIP. Whether he intended it or not, it helped the Communists -- who just happened at that time to be the strongest opposition group in the country. The Communists WITHIN South Vietnam, fought the U.S. and, of course, eventually won. They were helped by the North -- but that was because, unlike the Catholic autocracy, they considered ALL of Viet Nam, North AND South, to be ONE COUNTRY; as it is, of course, now -- and was historically. {The division into "North" and "South" was artificial, and NEVER accepted by the people of Viet Nam; even tho the U.S. and other govts --

7:07PM PDT on Aug 21, 2011

I am not a Communist or a Communist sympathizer {or a Catholic!}; I am just TRYING TO SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT.
The Buddhist monk who set himself on fire in South Vietnam, was PROTESTING THE CATHOLIC AUTOCRACY OPPRESSING HIS COUNTRY, with foreign U.S. help.
This act, whatever you may think of it, certainly SET A STANDARD OF PROTEST FOR GENERATIONS TO COME; from the street vendor in Tunis that set off the Egyptian protests and "Arab Spring", to the present Tibetan Buddhist monks. I don't think he, or they, will EVER be forgotten. In South Viet Nam, the monk who set himself on fire was entirely caught on camera; impressively, the monk REMAINED IN A LOTUS POSITION WITHOUT MOVING all the time the fire burned, until his body was consumed! UNBELIEVABLE self-control, only thru Religious Devotion I'm sure!
The monk's self-immolation really crystallized RESISTANCE WITHIN SOUTH VIETNAM, AGAINST THEIR CATHOLIC DICTATORSHIP. Whether he intended it or not, it helped the Communists -- who just happened at that time to be the strongest opposition group in the country. The Communists WITHIN South Vietnam, fought the U.S. and, of course, eventually won. They were helped by the North -- but that was because, unlike the Catholic autocracy, they considered ALL of Viet Nam, North AND South, to be ONE COUNTRY; as it is, of course, now -- and was historically. {The division into "North" and "South" was artificial, and NEVER accepted by the people of Viet Nam; even tho the U.S. and other govts --

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