Around two dozen Tibetans have immolated themselves as a sign of protest against the ruling authoritarian government in China. The protests against Chinese rule are increasing along with large demonstrations in Tibet.
The immolations first began in 2009 as monks and nuns in Tibet doused themselves in kerosene and set themselves on fire in protest. Today, most self-immolators are now lay people in protest. The self-immolation is a way to avoid direct attacks on government property and the authorities, which leads to tighter measures and great oppression.
However, political analysts conclude that the government shows no positive response for reform inside Tibet or advice from the outside of China. An Aba official mentioned that the government was aware of the immolations, but did not hint about government action after the call.
The latest immolation and protests were done by students against a booklet distributed by Chinese authorities that derided the Tibetan language, insulted the Dalai Lama, the former leader of Tibet exiled from his country and condemned the immolations as “acts of stupidity”.
Many Tibetans see self-immolation as selfless acts of sacrifice as authorities cannot denounce the immolators. The acts of defiance may increase in the future according to New York Columbia University Tibet Expert Robie Barnett. He said that the Tibetans have found a way to make a protest that will not tighten the reins of oppression against them.