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Significance of self.!mm0lation s in Lh asa|
by B. Raman
There were two incidents of attempted self.!mm0lation by young T!betan monks in their early 20s in Lh asa in the so-called T!bet Autonomous Region (T A R) on May 27,2012. One of the incidents was fatal, while in the other the police managed to put out the fire. The pr0tester suffered burns, but survived.
2. The dead man was identified as Tobgye Tseten, from the T!betan-populated Gansu province which was separated from T!bet by the Chinese authorities after occupying T!bet. The injured, Dargye, is from the Kirti monastery area of the Sichuan province where the wave of self.!mm0lation s in pr0test against the continued Chinese occupation of T!bet sT A Rted last year.
3. Since the pr0tests through self.!mm0lation sT A Rted in the Kirti monastery area of Sichuan in the beginning of last year, there have been 37 attempted self.!mm0lation s---- 34 of them outside the T A R and three in the T A R. The majority of the self.!mm0lation attempts have been reported from the Sichuan Province.
4. From the T A R, only one incident was reported last year as against 34 from the T!betan areas outside the T A R (Sichuan, Gansu and Qinghai ). No satisfactory explanation has been forthcoming as to why the T A R, which saw widespread T!betan pr0tests against the Han occupation before the Beijing Olympics in 2008, has remained the least affected.
5.Even in the two incidents of May 27, which took place outside the sacred Jokhang Temple, the pr0testers had come from outside the T A R and were not local residents. This would indicate that while the T!betans outside the T A R continue to defy the Chinese authorities, the T!betans of the T A R, who were subjected to brutal suppression after the violent incidents of 2008, have continued to remain subdued. There have been no copy-cat self.!mm0lation s in the T A R by local T!betan residents.
6. The Chinese authorities seem more confident of their ability to keep the T A R under control than the T!betan areas of the other three provinces. The T!betans of the T A R maintain regular interactions with T!betan refugees in Nep@l, !ndia and the West and the radical T!betan Youth Congress (T Y C), with its leadership based in the US, was in the forefront of the revolt of 2008 in the T A R.
7. One would have expected that the T!betans of the T A R would have been in the forefront of the current wave of pr0tests and non-violent satyagraha, but this has not been so. What one has been seeing since the beginning of last year has been a spontaneous movement with no central organisation behind it. It is the anger of the young monks in Sichuan, Gansu and Qinghai, outraged over the virtual Chinese occupation of the Kirti monastery of Sichuan last year and the arrest and forcible detention of many of the monks in a PLA detention centre, that has kept the pr0test movement sustained. The effect of this anger and outrage is still to be felt in the T A R.