Tang Danhong: Fire Between Dark and Cold

Tang Danhong is a poet and filmmaker from Chengdu, Sichuan. She currently lives in Israel. She blogs at Moments of Samsara [zh] and tweets @DanHongTang.
This essay was first published January 2013 in Hong Kong’s Open Magazine (here). CDT translated another essay by Tang in 2008 called Tibet: Her Pain, My Shame, which became one of CDT’s most popular and most commented-on posts ever.
黑与冷之间的火
Fire Between the Dark and the Cold
Tang Danhong
From the very beginning of my experience with Tibet, I fell in love with the Tibetan people, their culture, and their faith. Their unique hospitality, charm, good humor, and confident attitude moved me quite deeply. They convey a priceless character through their smiles and their eyes, and the way they serve their tea and toast their wine, the way they spin prayer wheels. It’s a special kind of character that makes one feel warm and think deeply. This special character of theirs is intimately related to their land and Mother Nature, to their language and wisdom, and to their faith and philosophy about the world. I cherish most their understanding of, and universal compassion for, the tough realities experienced by all forms of life.
But never in my life have I imagined that so many of these people whom I love, at this very moment that I am writing this essay, already over 100 men and women, wish to cover their bodies with gasoline, drink gasoline, and calmly walk down to the grasslands, or along small village paths, or to the gates of the local government building, or to the town roads, or to the gate of a temple, and on this land and under this sky that once belonged to them, set themselves on fire, to cry out in their language, and to die on

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6 Responses to Tang Danhong: Fire Between Dark and Cold

  1. SteveLaudig says:

    What part of Israel is she living in? What of the Palestinians?

  2. Will says:

    This is a moving and frank essay on the CCP-caused tragic circumstances of life in Tibet under police-state authoritarian rule and occupation. Tang would be risking arrest or other forms of intimidation from the authorities if she were in China and writing such an essay. A writer should be allowed to select her subject matter; if and when she feels well enough informed about Palestinian issues to write about that, that will be the appropriate time to write about that.

  3. Tenzin says:

    As a Tibetan I wondered where are the Chinese sentiments, dont they have feelings. I thought they would appreciate the gesture of not harming them and instead chosing to harm ourselves to make you see the truth. This article help me to trust on humanity and particularly of Chinese sentiments. Still its too little too late. Han Chinese silence is deafening.

  4. Bo Peep says:

    Long overdue for the Chinese people to rise up against the Communist Chinese Party. They burned down one building that had the State TV Studios in it, maybe they will burn down the rest of the Communists’ buildings and go after those murderers and crooks.

    The attempt of the West to help the Chinese people attain democracy by helping them economically has been a huge failure. We need to actively help the thieving Communists to fall flat on their faces and get the boot out the door. Because these hogs don’t just want Tibet and the subjugation of the Chinese. They want Southeast Asia, Japan, Taiwan, India, Nepal, and every resource they can grab on the planet.

    Karma needs to work a little faster against the Communist Chinese Party. Turn the wheel already.

  5. Emily says:

    Thank you for this touching essay.

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