News / Asia

Tibetan Monk Self-Immolates in Nepal

Nepalese police react to a Tibetan exile who set himself on fire in Kathmandu, February 13, 2013.
Nepalese police react to a Tibetan exile who set himself on fire in Kathmandu, February 13, 2013.
VOA News
A Tibetan monk set himself on fire in Nepal's capital Wednesday, as separate reports emerged confirming the 100th self-immolation in Tibetan areas of China took place earlier this month.

The incidents are part of a four-year protest campaign against Chinese rule in Tibet.

Sources inside China told VOA's Tibetan Service the 100th victim was a 37-year-old monk from the Kirti Monastery in Ngaba, or Aba in Chinese. He is believed to have died on February 3 after setting himself alight in a small town.

Many of the initial self-immolation protests took place in this area, and the resulting crackdown by Chinese authorities has delayed information about the situation.

Tibetan Self-Immolations, Through January 22, 2013Tibetan Self-Immolations, Through January 22, 2013
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Tibetan Self-Immolations, Through January 22, 2013
Tibetan Self-Immolations, Through January 22, 2013
Meanwhile, Sudip Pathak, head of the Human Rights Organization of Nepal, told VOA he visited the badly burned monk who self-immolated Wednesday, the only person allowed to see him in the Kathmandu hospital where he is being treated. Pathak said the protester - who remains unidentified - is in critical condition, with burns over 96 percent of his body.

Police said the monk had doused himself with gasoline in a restaurant bathroom before stepping outside onto the street and setting himself on fire near Kathmandu's Boudhanath Stupa, one of Buddhism's holiest sites.

He timed his self-immolation to coincide with the important Tibetan New Year festival of Losar. Tibet's government in exile had asked Tibetans to show solidarity with Tibetans inside China by not celebrating the holiday.  

Some eyewitnesses said the monk was chanting anti-China slogans before police and other locals rushed in to put out the flames. A local Tibetan community leader, identified only as Mingma, called the suicide attempt "respectable."

"This was a sacrifice by this man. It was his attempt to draw the attention of the world towards the suppression by the Chinese over our homeland. He was giving up his life so that the people of Tibet could get their freedom."

Pictures of the self-immolation show shocked bystanders watching as a team of police rush in to help a man covered in flames standing in the street.

The self-immolation campaign began in February 2009 to protest what Tibetans say is Chinese repression of their culture. China denies the charges and says the suicide protests are acts of terrorism.

Over the last two months, Beijing has criminalized acts of self-immolation and targeted those accused of inciting them, imposing long jail terms and using financial incentives to encourage the work of informants. The crackdown also targets individuals that authorities say have sent videos or photographs of such acts to contacts outside China.

More than 20,000 Tibetan exiles are living in Nepal, after a failed 1959 uprising against Chinese rule. Nepal has prohibited demonstrations by Tibetan exiles and cracked down on such gatherings in recent years, to avoid angering China.

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by: SEATO
February 15, 2013 5:15 PM
@Edward from China: Cut out all the craps about liberating the Tibetans from slavery and serfdom.It was all communist propaganda,to justify their invasion of Tibet.Life for Chinese was better under the Manchus,right? But,nevertheless,the Chinese still fought to overthrow them,right? Simply because they are foreigners at the end of the day.The Tibetans are just the same.They don't like to be ruled over by Chinese.You can't buy their allegiance and loyalty by offering them material wealth,only to lose their identity and culture in the process.China keeps claiming that other countries grabbed their lands and now they want them back.It is actually the opposite.China has been grabbing lands from them

In Response

by: Sentter from: China
February 20, 2013 10:01 PM
You should read the history and then you will know how many lands be sized by outher countries from china.


by: onesimus757 from: Outer Banks, NC
February 15, 2013 4:21 PM
we have a unique Comet that will light the night sky in a major way. i believe The Tibetan space observers saw a comet right before China invaded. i am a Christian and not affiliated with any denominations, Psalm 19 describes what the Zodiac ect. is purposed for. i believe The God of Israel is The God of all nations. a star that falls from space to Earth that turns the waters of the earth bitter, it is called Wormwood. the comet approaching was discovered by 2 Russian astronomers from the area near Chernobyl. Chernobyl (sp?) is Russian for Wormwood. a sign? maybe, a thing to pay attention to , for sure.


by: Stale Bread
February 15, 2013 3:37 PM
BTW, even the 1st of the Tibetan immolations happened in the Exile community, which now encourages more immolations by celebrating the anniversary of the 1st immolation as "Martyr's Day", on April 29 of every year, endorsed by Dalai Lama's government (who supposedly do not encourage the immolations).

There is even a "Martyr Award".

Interesting, isn't it?


by: Stale Bread = Toast from: Virginia
February 15, 2013 10:15 AM
I find it odd that the Tibetan Exiles call for "investigation" in China, over these self-immolations, when quite a few of them ( are happening in the Exiles' own community in India.

And seriously, only 100? India had as many as 1,451 and 1,584 self-immolations reported in 2000 and 2001, respectively. You think they care??

Doesn't that say something about VOA, when VOA reports the 100, but not the other 3,000?


by: Jonathan Huang from: canada
February 13, 2013 6:37 PM
Obviously, those self immolationers were brainwashed. Why majorities were teenage monks? teenagers and religion believers are easy targets of brainwashing.

In Response

by: cm7 from: south
February 14, 2013 5:15 PM
I think you are right. I live in the states and the best of our buildings are Roman knock-offs the majority of the time. US culture is dead or else offensive. This is not my culture. I actually think Nepal is kind of cool and was thinking about going there although I'm sure they could use better utilities and services but I'm not buying this "suppression of culture" stuff. Maybe if you are an Extraterrestrial or something THEN you might be suppressed in your culture but I have no idea why these people would be setting themselves on fire over this in Tibet. The VN war was a different story. People were living in war torn countries, constantly seeing gore and tragedy and often times losing their whole families... so living with pain like that might be an excuse for wanting to set yourself on fire... but suppression of culture in NEPAL?? NEWSFLASH... The Dalai Lama supports secular and western culture which is NO upgrade, imo. Yeah... I think this is terrorism and there is some mind control going on.


by: SEATO
February 13, 2013 8:38 AM
Self immolation to draw world attention to your plight is just a waste of time.China wouldn't care less.The whole world do business with them.The entire global economy depends on them where 90% of the goods we use,are made.China knows that so they would just carry on suppressing diisidents and separatists.You see,anti China demonstrations are forbidden in Nepal,Vietnam and a lot more countries.No country,big or small,would want to displease them.Come to your senses.You would never win back your independence by pleading or awaking world consciense !

In Response

by: Andres from: New York
February 14, 2013 12:44 AM
What such actions do do is force a recognition amongst those in a position to speak out, yet don't, of their growing evil disposition.

The longer the world ignores such people, yet come to the aid of others (self-evidently purely for the acquisition of wealth), the more civilization descends into chaos.

The unique situation the world faces is that, unlike the past, great powers did not see a moral obligation to give aid people who were unlike them.

In Response

by: Edward from: Canada
February 13, 2013 1:55 PM
I always wonder why would the Tibetans want to go back to serfdom (a.k.a. slavery), perhaps the jump from Serdom to Communism is too much... when I visited Tibet the B&B owner was a slave & said a majority of the Tibetans are happy because their lives are better... the ones that had 'exiled' were the ones in power (a.k.a. slave owners) & that's why they want the country back. I also think the Han people are more educated overall & are now competing with the locals...& like Chinese in other parts of Asia they tend to do well economically, & eventually lead to local dissatisfaction - case in point Malaysia. Rich Chinenese businessman then leave Malaysia to Canada & China/HongKong... this may happen to Tibet but it'll take another 20 yrs.


by: Sun from: China
February 13, 2013 8:20 AM
In fact,this is only a evil trick played by some person who want to complish their autocratic rule.And they even don't care the ignorant
believers' life . Chinese goverment always concern on Tibet's develope and it make a big difference .I believe we can do better.

In Response

by: Adam from: MI
February 14, 2013 12:50 AM
Fake photo. I can make one when I was 15.

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