Scorching Tibet
Daily Mirror Editorial
Apr 2, 2011

The series of self-immolations by Tibetan Buddhist monks in western Chinese cities and India have shaken up many neigbhouring nations. The tragedy hints of an alarming trend of growing unrest. For them, whatever that went wrong cannot be simple factors, given that Buddhism followed by them preaches suicide to be one of the gravest sins.

Yet, Tibetans have come to view such victims as martyrs and their fatal acts, ultimate sacrifices. Their suicides are glorified on the grounds that, they were committed in defence of their culture and heritage, in other words, a part of themselves. Hence, contrary to what religions preach and humanism dictates, Tibetans interpret them as necessary sacrifices that were needed to keep the flames flickering.

Obviously, the deathly wave of protests emerged as a result of growing dislike among people towards the Beijing rule. There were cries against religious repression and gradual erosion of their culture. They found it hard to go on under the rigid policies of the Chinese authorities. In the wake of two more cases of self-immolation in Maerkang, western China, agency reports revealed that prevalence of such actions are expected to be high given the iron hand of Beijing that hinders their religious practices, around which the Tibetan life is centered.

China may have conquered the whole of Asia with its economic and geographical enormity. The Asia’s giant has been one of the few countries to have stood up to the America’s imperialism in the modern world. Yet, the manner in which it dealt with the Tibetan issue hardly shows maturity or even-handedness, which ought to have been the hallmarks of a so-called “people’s republic.” It is high time Beijing understands that it is not a piece of glory that Tibet seeks, but a voice of their own.

It is in fact, an unequal battle fought by China, that even if emerges victorious, it will lose its dignity. China has a voice loud enough to dictate terms to Asia. It has veto when Tibet does not even have the UN membership. It did not become Asia’s giant by default to trample a citizenry that cannot match military and the administrative prowess of China. Hence, China’s authority should be for making things easier for the marginalized; not at any rate, the other way around.

If not for humanitarian reasons, at least for its authority’s sake, a genuine emphasis should be laid on the issue to make sure that no more Tibetans set themselves on fire, demanding a liberation that will not cost China much. After all, Beijing cannot let India score brownie points by continuing to shelter and comfort the exiled Tibetans.

Even though, the Chinese government called the disturbing trend ‘terrorism in disguise;’ a charred body, or a dozen more, cannot declare war- they only demand peace.

A people’s republic cannot afford to just wait and watch people setting themselves on fire, one after the other. After all, it is not comfort or sympathy but a lasting harmony that is desired for the roof of the world.

Source: Daily Mirror - Sri Lanka