Testimony by a self-immolation protest survivor

14th November 2014

Rare insight into Tibet fire protests

Broadcasted by Radio Free Asia Tibetan Free Tibet's research partner, Tibet Watch, has translated a testimony by a Tibetan self-immolation protest survivor. For safety reasons, the voice of the self-immolator has been disguised and the reporter does not disclose their name, location or current condition. "Since I am an ordinary human being, my way of thinking is that in this century, people and governments of most countries' minds are joining together. They are enjoying the freedom and human rights of their countries, both the people and their nations are enjoying the new progress of their nations. But being a Tibetan, I don't have a nation or freedom; I have experienced a lot of unhappiness. When I went to Lhasa on pilgrimage, the Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple were surrounded by Chinese armies. We were unable to do a pilgrimage unless we sought permission and waited for a week for permission. I noticed most soldiers put on monks robes over their military uniform. After I saw and experienced all of this with my own eyes, I started to think it was better to die rather than live in such an environment. I prayed for a rebirth under the presence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in my all lifetimes. Compared to other countries, we don't have freedom of religious belief, freedom of speech, and our spiritual leader cannot return home. The restrictions are ongoing. I was unable to bear the suffering of living under Chinese aggression, so I thought about a self-immolation protest; I failed to die in my self-immolation protest, because of the dousing of the fire on my burning body. Nowadays I am unable to go anywhere and am dependent on others for everything." When the reporter asked the self-immolator about their hopes or wishes, they replied that they hoped the 11th Panchen Lama, who was abducted by China nearly twenty years ago, would be freed and that the two Lamas (the Panchen Lama and the Dalai Lama) would be about to meet soon. They said they also hoped that all Tibetan political prisoners would be released soon.

Tibetan self-immolation protesters

Since March 2011, more than 130 Tibetans have set themselves on fire inside Tibet in protest against the repressive Chinese occupation of Tibet. Although self-immolation protests have become less frequent in 2013 and 2014 other protests are taking place over a widening area of Tibet. Full list of Tibetan self-immolation protests.

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