Barbara Demick, “In China, self-immolations add radical bent to Tibetan protests” LA Times, 10/23/2011 (,0,840542.story)

Tibet rally in New Delhi

Tibetan people in New Delhi rally to express solidarity with Buddhists in Tibet. (Tsering Topgyal, Associated Press / October 23, 2011)

On Monday of this past week, the ninth young Tibetan killed herself by self-immolation in a protest against Chinese rule.  This twenty year old woman was the first woman, a Buddhist nun, to kill herself in the protest.  As a result of the self-immolations, the exiled Dalai Lama led a day of prayer and fasting on Wednesday.  Also because of the rise in protest, Chinese authorities have increased their security in Aba, the city where most of the self-immolations have occured.  The self-immolations of the monks were done to rouse the Tibetan people into protest against the Chinese government.

This article shows that the ritual suicides being done demonstrate that Tibetans are shifting away from the Dalai Lama’s teachings of nonviolence.  Even though the monks closely follow what the Dalai Lama says, they have become very frustrated with the Chinese government and therfore want to protest.  This is similar to what happened in the 2007 Saffron revolution in Burma where the Buddhist monks led the uprising against the government.  One implication we talked about in class was how Buddhists main focus is for the greater good and so sometimes it might be okay to kill others (or yourself, in the case of the Tibentan protest) if it’s for the greater good.  Another intersting aspect of this article is the neutral perspective (maybe slightly positive toward the Tibetan monks) of the article.  A lot of the time, news articles are more negative towards religions and its followers; however, this article simply states what is going on with the Tibetan protest (the self-immolations of the monks) and how the Chinese government is responding.  The article does stir up some emotions though because self-immolation is not a light subject whatsoever.  It will be interesting to see what happens in the future with this protest.  Will more monks kill themselves to get the Tibetan people more involved with the protest? What will the Chinese government do if this protest escalates?  All of these questions will probably soon be answered.