Another Tibetan Monk set himself on fire on the morning of October 22 (China time). It is the second self-immolation of Tibetans in 48 hours, third in ten days and 57th since 2009, said Free Tibet.
The 50-year-old monk named Dhondup finished his morning meditation as usual, walked to the side of the Serkhang temple (meaning golden house) in Xiahe County, and demolished in a golden blaze. His body was immediately seized by the police.
Xiahe, a county in Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture(GTAP), Gansu province, China, has seen two such cases in the past 48 hours. On Saturday, a 27-year-old Tibetan man named Lhamo Kyeb, a layman and father of two young children. Report described him as “running along the road in a ball of flames, calling for Dalai Lama to come home”. His family managed to get hold of his remains., said a London-based rights group.
They followed a self-immolation of Tamdin Dorje, the grandfather of a prominent young Tibetan reincarnation lama on October 13, near a monastery in Kanlho, GTAP, at the same spot where a 21-year-old Tibetan mother set herself in August.
“ they sacrificed their lives, for sincere motivation, for buddha dharma, for the wellbeing of the people”, said Dalai Lama in a broadcast interview with NBC’s Ann Curry during his visit to New York in October, “in a short-term, the power of gun is stronger than the power of truth, but in the long run, the power of truth is much strong.”
Under Chinese control
Nobody can tell what exactly intrigued those immolation, as Tibetan communities are still very much fenced from the outside by the Chinese government. Foreigners are restricted from traveling to Tibet or Tibetan settlement in China. Foreign media were closely monitored if not entirely interdicted. Though Chinese makes up more than 90% of population in most Tibetan settlement outside of Tibet, genuine interactions are scare, while in Tibet the number of Chinese tourists doubled this year, they usually stay in Chinese hotels and eat in Chinese restaurant.
Ever since it came to international spotlight for the 2008 riot, Tibet has been under strict control as the Chinese government does not want to be shamed again. The continual immolation even hardened its attitude and the sacrifices are described as terrorist to the outside, while within China, their names are banned entirely. On Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter the whole day and nothing about the incidents were mentioned, meanwhile, Dalai Lama has always been portrayed as a fascist.
A bleak future
Young Tibetans are forced to learn Chinese and many are encouraged to attend higher education in China. There were more than forty Tibetan students in my previous University in China, none of them could write Tibetan and some of them do not speak the language. Though government report says unemployment rate in Tibet is only 3.8%, the jobs are mostly for the Chinese settlers, and the actual unemployment rate among Tibetan remains high.
Today’s Tibet is caught in a difficult situation: as the old exile regime is getting old and face perish, the young remained in China get simulated and gradually digested in the Chinese culture and materialism. Despite their frequent sacrifices to cultural and political freedom, it is more and more likely that they will never get there.