Appalling as it may sound, more than 30 people have committed self-immolation this year in order to exclaim their gripe at China's rule over Tibet. The latest to join this mission was Jamphel Yeshi, a 27 year old from New Delhi India who set himself on fire outside the Indian Parliament.
Blaming Dalai Lama, the Tibetan leader who has been living in exile for the decades, Beijing has labelled these protests as an act of terrorism. Calling Tibet an out-dated society, China's leader in Tibet, Padma Choling, said that Dalai Lama’s clique is trying to hang onto the privileges while most of its population has no individual rights, as they are serfs.
This particular incident was against Chinese president Hu Jintao’s recent visit to India. While the government continues to ignore these cases, more and more ‘martyrs’ from the Tibetan society are coming forward to justify their rights. Since this incident took place in a democracy like India, the press captured images that were horrifying and published reports on different media portals as opposed to the controlled press that would have followed if the same story had played out in China.
The war between Tibet and China rages on, with the Chinese government defending its position of power. But with self-immolation numbers increasing, a decision that can satiate both the parties should be taken and soon if lives are to be spared and peace restored to the distraught people of Tibet.
By Heena Makhijani