According to reports, on November 20, 2012, Tsering Dhundup, a Tibetan activist in his thirties and a father of three, died after setting himself on fire to protest Chinese mining activities and policies. His self-immolation is the 78th* in Tibet since February 2009, and his death, following that of Wangchen Norbu a day earlier, marks the 65th of such deaths. As the tragic protests by Tibetans against Chinese policies intensify, the Chinese authorities have failed to take effective measures to address the crisis, and continue to insist that this is China’s internal affair.
In recent weeks, Chinese netizens have helped spread reports of Tibetan self-immolations online and expressed their concerns by posting comments on Twitter. They have done so despite intensified government crackdowns and Internet censorship in the lead up to and during the 18th Party Congress. Below are some select posts:
Chinese authorities must address the root causes of these tragic protests: development and social control policies in Tibet that violate the fundamental rights of the Tibetan people. Despite reported behind-the-scenes diplomatic efforts undertaken by various governments, the escalation of these horrific acts makes it imperative for the international community to take more transparent and effective action now.
* Tabulation by the International Campaign for Tibet.
For more information on Tibetan self-immolations, see:
- "A Culture Endangered: Depopulating the Grasslands of the Tibetan Plateau," China Rights Forum, 2012, no. 1
- "The New Face of Lhasa," China Rights Forum, 2012, no. 1
- Tenzing Rigdol on Our Land, Our People, China Rights Forum, 2012, no. 1
- "Tenzing Rigdol on “Our Land, Our People”," July 10, 2012 (video)
- "HRIC Commentary: Hu Ping on Tibetan Self-Immolations," March 17, 2012 (video)
- "China Must Address Root Causes of Growing Tibetan Protests," January 27, 2012
- "Kirti Rinpoche Meeting with the Press," November 16, 2011 (video)