Janphel Yeshi set himself on fire and ran through the streets of New Delhi in March before Hu Jintao’s visit to India. His image appears on the cover of the latest edition of iSun Affairs.
Soon after announcing that “inciting” self-immolation would be prosecuted as murder, Chinese authorities arrested a monk and his nephew in Sichuan Province for “goading” people to set themselves alight. Global Times Chief Editor Hu Xijin condemned these “murderers,” and the Dalai Lama, on Weibo:
HuXijin: Sichuan has cracked the case of Tibetan lamas inciting self-immolation. Instigated by the Dalai clique, two culprits have incited and goaded eight people to self-immolate since 2009, resulting in three deaths. This truly is an unforgivable evil. How vicious does one have to be to use religious ecstasy to engineer self-immolations, and thus exert political pressure? I say it’s right to classify this as intentional homicide. Life is above politics–it is above all else.
Dazed netizens complained that Hu’s comments came out of nowhere–before last week, the Chinese press had been silent on the violence in Tibet. Many couldn’t believe that people could be simply “incited” to set themselves on fire. They also called Hu’s bluff on his proclamation that “life is above politics,” since he tows the Party line for a state-run newspaper. Some of the comments:
zhaochu1962: Almost none of these cases of self-immolation were allowed to be reported. When people go from ignorance to awareness, of course they will suspect this kind of case-cracking. Burning yourself to death because you were goaded–sounds like a fantasy story. Suicide is not a crime. The evolution of the situation in Tibet to today’s tragic state requires consideration of policy, not dubious victories to anesthetize the public. If we are to maintain unity [of the country], we must face this ... « Back to Article