News / Asia

Chinese Artist Depicts Tibetan Protesters

Shannon Van Sant
On the fifth anniversary of violent protests against Chinese rule in Lhasa, Tibet, authorities are still grappling with unrest and a wave of self-immolations in Tibetan areas of China. One Beijing-based artist is trying to commemorate the lost lives.

More than 100 Tibetans have set themselves on fire in protest of Chinese government policies.  Artist Liu Yi wants to tell their story.

"The main message that I am trying to convey is the truth about what is going on in Tibet.  The other thing that has really struck a chord in me emotionally is that none of these self-immolators have done this for themselves. It is done out of love," said Liu.

He has painted portraits of each of the immolators.  Liu grew up in Langzhou, Gansu Province, near Tibetan areas and is a practicing Buddhist.

Previously, his paintings focused on victims of the Sichuan and Yushu earthquakes.

"Another reason is to give Chinese a chance to pay more attention to this issue, and to have empathy for what is happening, to help them put themselves in the shoes of Tibetans and ask, if we were them, what would we do," he said.

That sentiment is rare in China, where state media vilifies the immolators and those who support them as criminals. In Beijing, few residents know about or express sympathy for the Tibetan situation.

"We live so far away from Tibet, and it’s not a part of our daily lives.  Those things are so small.  I don’t know much about this issue," said Han, a Beijing resident.

"I think it’s all a lie," said Zhang, another Beijing resident. "Why don’t those who are encouraging others to self-immolate instead set themselves on fire?"

Chinese authorities blame Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, for orchestrating the protests. Officials insist that the solution to Tibet’s problems is not greater religious or political freedom, but economic development - something that Tibet officials like Baima Chilin emphasized during this week’s National People's Congress.

"In Tibet government officials must thoroughly study their comrades’ policies in the eastern coastal regions of China.  Tibet must let investors come and get rich, because if investors get rich, Tibet develops, and if investors get richer, Tibet develops even more," said Baima Chilin.

China’s new leaders are expected to continue a hardline approach on Tibetan protesters, and artist Liu Yi is expected to continue working in his studio, despite threats from police. He says he will keep painting until the immolations stop.

You May Like

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid