Tibet Policy Institute (TCI) – a think tank that functions as a research-oriented intellectual platform for the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) – has revealed in its first report that the political repression and cultural assimilation are triggering the self-immolation protests in Tibet.
The white paper titled “Why Tibet is Burning?” is also the first report of the Tibet Policy Institute since its inception last year.
Sikyong (Tibetan prime minister-in-exile) Lobsang Sangay released this research publication which explains the fundamental reasons behind the ongoing wave of self-immolations inside Tibet and the alarming escalation in the protests witnessed in the past few months.
The principle reasons listed in the 91-page report for Tibet’s fiery protests are political repression, Chinese communist leader’s views and policies on Tibet, and cultural assimilation, destruction of Tibetan Buddhism. Besides, social discrimination, strangling the Tibetan language, environment destruction, Tibetan Nomads and ending their way of life and economic marginalisation, population transfer and western China Development Programme are the other reasons given in the report.
Since 2009, as many as 99 Tibetans, most of them in their teens and early twenties, have set themselves on fire in Tibet, protesting China’s repressive rule, demanding freedom and the return of spiritual leader the Dalai Lama from exile.
The report explains that young Tibetans in Tibet have seen and experienced “China’s constant assault” and their decision to set themselves on fire is an unambiguous judgment of Chinese rule in Tibet.
The maximum number of self-immolation, 28, was recorded in November last year, coinciding with the 18th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, including five incidents of fiery protest on the eve of the meeting that marked the start of leadership transition in China.
Releasing the report, Sangay said the current critical situation in Tibet was being fuelled by China’s total disregard for the religious beliefs, cultural values and reasonable political aspirations of the Tibetan people.
Expressing hope that the report will help to illuminate the deeper layers of the current crisis in Tibet, Sangay said the report presents in-depth examination and analysis of the policy areas that relentlessly rob Tibetans of their culture and language, and undermine their chosen way of life.