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Exiled government releases film examining self-immolations PDF Print E-mail
[25 September 2012] The Tibetan government in exile has produced a documentary entitled The Burning Question: Why are Tibetans Turning to Self-immolation? The 30-minute film, released online yesterday, examines the underlying reasons for the wave of self-immolations that have taken place in Tibet since 2009.

The Burning Question highlights the ongoing oppression by the Chinese government in Tibet and the policies imposed by the regime which restrict Tibetans' freedoms and livelihoods. The film, as well as explaining why self-immolations began as a form of protest in Tibet and how they have intensified in number over the past 12 months, also profiles in detail several of those who have self-immolated.

WARNING
: the film contains graphic images of self-immolations from the beginning.



In the documentary, Kirti Rinpoche, the exiled abbot of Kirti monastery in Ngaba where many of the self-immolations have taken place, says "the situation today has reached breaking point". Kirti Rinpoche states that religious repression "is causing unbearable pain in the hearts and minds of Tibetan people" and adds that Tibetans "will not foresake their objects of refuge [ie belief in the Dalai Lama and Tibetan Buddhism] even at the cost of their lives."

CTA logoDicki Chhoyang, Kalon (Minister) responsible for the Department of Information and International Relations of the exiled government (Central Tibetan Administration), concludes the film saying the way forward is "dialogue". Ms Chhoyang appeals to the international community to "not remain idle bystanders" but to "use their freedom to help the Tibetan people secure theirs".

Since February 2009, 51 Tibetans have self-immolated in Tibet, of whom 41 are known to have died. Thousands have also taken to the streets to peacefully protest China's oppressive policies. China's response has been to increase the military crackdown, ban foreign observers and journalists and blame the Dalai Lama for inciting the self-immolations.

Further reading: CTA press release I Take action I Background


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