By Dawa Dolma

The contemporary form of protest by burning oneself to death has become tradition to express objection and discontent. But unfortunately, the gesture is even more common in Tibet and self-immolation has become the ultimate way of dissenting CCP’s rule in Tibet. Tibetans of different walks of life have performed the act of objecting.

And of course, CCP claimed that self-immolation is a spiritual tradition of self-purification in Buddhist practice and accused the Dalai Lama for instigating such act in Tibet.

The appalling accusation of CCP was critically rejected by Tibetan government in exile in Dharamsala, India and the Dalai Lama.

In fact, they perform such self-less act as a the ultimate form of protest against the absence of fundamental human rights including freedom to practice your religion, language, and culture.

The repressive regime of People Liberation Army have taken away every rights and freedom from Tibetans. They have been denied freedom to practice their religion, demolition of monastic institutions are omnipresent (Larung Gar is one of the key example), imposing restrictions in religious activities, limiting numbers of monk and nun enrolled, and burning of religious scriptures.

The Chinese never fail to make every effort to remove trace of the Dalai Lama, a person will end up behind bars if caught with a photograph of the Dalai Lama.

As an atheist party, ironically CCP intervened in reincarnation of high lamas and appointed their version of them. They are intending to do the same with the reincarnation of the next Dalai Lama. The forced disappearance of the second highest Lama, Panchen Lama and his whereabouts is still unknown to the world since 1995. The 11th Panchen Lama Gendhun Choekyi Nyima is the world youngest political prisoner.

The constitution of PRC says “All nationalities have the freedom to use and develop their own spoken and written languages, and to preserve or reform their own folkways and customs.”

But in reality, it’s the otherwise. The CCP’s prudent investment in promoting Mandarin language seems unavoidable.

The mandatory imposition of Mandarin as the medium of instruction in all ethnic minority regions like Tibet, Uighur, and inner Mongolia.

It leaves the Tibetan students deprived of their mother tongue which indicate denial of language right.

Tibetan culture and history are never taught under Chinese rule and of course the official language is Mandarin.

A few year ago, a Tibetan businessman cum education activist TashiWangchuk was sentenced to five years jail for inciting separatism.

But all he wants is the rights for Tibetans to use their native language as promised in the constitution. The systematic eradication of language and culture signifies the cultural annihilation of periphery or marginalized ethnic groups under CCP’s rule.

The right to practice their vernacular languages are severely restricted that singers and songwriters are put behind bars for singing culturally relevant songs. 

Needless to say, cultural genocide is very common in Tibet. Forced sterilization of Tibetan women was used by Chinese government to control Tibetan population. The practice of sterilization was unfamiliar in Tibet before the Chinese invasion.

One of the CCP’s idiosyncrasies is Sinicizing ethnic minority groups by migrating huge Han population in these regions. Han Chinese outnumbered Tibetan on the plateau, it is estimated that 2.5 million Han to only 750,000 Tibetans according to Chinses statistic. Above all, the division of Tibetan plateau into different prefectures and regions in order to destroy Tibetan unity and identity as a whole.

Ecologically, Tibet was the most eco-friendly countries among the world situated on the top of the world. The pristine lakes, snow-capped mountains, wide range of flora and fauna, and most importantly the major source of Asia’s fresh water.

And of course, ecological destruction of Tibet’s environment by People Republic of China can’t be ignored. Major construction of dams, extracting minerals, setting up of industries at ecological fragile places, and resettlement of nomads.

There are stories where the authorities brought compensation money to nomads for leaving pastoralist lifestyle.

Tibetan plateau is three times more vulnerable to climate change to the rest of the world. Within the last decade, Tibet has witnessed climate drive disaster more than ever.

The environmentalist are imprisoned for raising public alarm about assaulting Tibet’s ecology and environment.

What’s next?

The short-lived media attention and China’s inaction to Tibet’s cause raised the question of ‘Is it worth committing a political suicide’? Personally, I deeply revere Tibetans who set themselves on fire. It may be the frustration of the powerlessness and the only way to call for the world attention to one’s cause. Whether they have achieved the goal or not but definitely fuel courage among Tibetan people.

The dialogue of the century between the Dalai Lama and Xi Jiping in nowhere in sight and China has turned a deaf ear to Central Tibetan Administration’s request to sit for a negotiation. The exile community continues to struggle for genuine Tibetan autonomy whereas China carry on with her expanding territories by reclaiming strategic part of Indian Himalayan like Galwan Valley.

The episode of Galwan Valley, June 2020 and demise of Tibetan Special Frontier Force signifies CCP as a power hungry nation.

Loosing faith in the international organizations and communities like United Nations and WHO where decisions are entertained in order of materialistic power and so-called the security council members.

A contour of change can be expected when the pandemic ends especially in shift of power dynamic and emergence of the global leadership.

About the Author: Dawa Dolma is a freelance journalist and independent researcher based in LehLadakh, India.

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