Tibetans Debate Self-Immolation
Losar, the 15-day traditional Tibetan New Year holiday, is being observed in a solemn fashion this year, as per Tibetan Prime Minister in exile Lobsang Sangay’s request that Tibetans use the time to reflect on the recent sequence of “grim news” coming out of Tibetan regions of China. In a report for CBC Radio, Edward Birnbaum talked to exiled Tibetans in Dharamsala, India, to document the debate surrounding the ethics and efficacy of using self-immolation as an act of protest:
Tibetans continue to bristle under Chinese rule, which began in 1950 when Beijing sent troops into the independent state. That anger often turns violent.
But Tibet’s plight has gained new urgency lately as a growing number of monks and nuns set themselves on fire to draw attention to it.
The use of suicide is causing division in Buddhist ranks. But Canadian journalist Edward Birnbaum watched a vivid demonstation of the reasons for it, among exiles in neighbouring India.
Listen to the entire report at the CBC Radio website.