Dalai Lama in UK as Self-immolations Amongst Tibetan Nomads Rise
LONDON, U.K. -- Tibet’s spiritual leader the Dalai Lama will visit Scotland this Friday, amid growing concern over the rise of self-immolation amongst Tibetan nomads.
More than 30 Tibetans are known to have set themselves on fire in the
last year in an unprecedented protest at China’s invasion and brutal
Of this number, half have been nomads, collectively known as Drokpa.
Last week, the European Parliament raised their ‘growing concern’ at the deteriorating situation and the negative impact China’s resettlement program was having on Tibetan nomads.
Some MPs in Britain have also tabled a motion in Parliament,
sharing the Dalai Lama’s fear that walled compounds will lead to ‘the
cessation of the traditional Tibetan nomadic way of life.’
China’s forced resettlement program began in 1998. So far, it has forced
about 1.5 million people into permanent state-controlled villages.
About one-third of the six million Tibetans are Drokpa. This is a larger
proportion of nomads than in any other country in the world apart from
The Drokpa have lived over much of the Tibetan plateau for at least
4,000 years, largely from their herds of yak, horse and sheep.
The latest wave of self-immolations amongst Tibetan nomads has taken the lives of two men, Jamyang Palden and Tamdrinthar. The latter was a Tibetan nomad in his early 60s from
Markethang Town in Eastern Tibet. Tamdrinthar and his family were made
to live in a fixed urban settlement a few years ago due to the Chinese
policy of forcing nomads off their land.
Chinese authorities have tried to suppress news of these incidents
reaching the outside world, by stopping photographs being taken, and
breaking up the demonstrations.
Director Stephanie Brigden said today, ‘Tamdrin’s act was a clear and
absolute rejection of Chinese rule: he set fire to himself at a location
that represents to Tibetans the brutality of China’s occupation.’
Source: Press release from Survival International
Published by: Magne Ove Varsi