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Tibetans participate in a candlelight vigil following news of the self immolation protest by a 24 yr old Tibetan named Pema Gyaltsen in Nyarong, Kham, on March 18, 2017. McLeod Ganj, March 19, 2017 Phayul Photo:Kunsang Gashon
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Political repression, cultural assimilation trigerring Tibet immolations: White paper
Phayul[Monday, January 28, 2013 23:46]
Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay releasing the white paper, 'Why Tibet is Burning?' at the Kashag Secretariat on January 28, 2013.
Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay releasing the white paper, 'Why Tibet is Burning?' at the Kashag Secretariat on January 28, 2013.
DHARAMSHALA, January 28: Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay, the elected head of the Tibetan people, today released a research publication explaining 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 white paper titled 'Why Tibet is Burning?' is also the first book published by the Tibet Policy Institute under the Dharamshala based Central Tibetan Administration.

Releasing the book, Sikyong Sangay said the current critical situation in Tibet is being "fuelled by China's total disregard for the religious beliefs, cultural values and reasonable political aspirations of the Tibetan people."

The de facto Tibetan Prime Minister expressed his hope that the report will help to illuminate the deeper layers of the current crisis in Tibet.

"With this goal in mind, we offer this report to global citizens and leaders,” Sikyong Sangay said. “It 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."

The principle reasons for Tibet’s fiery protests as listed in the 91-page report are: Political Repression - Chinese Communist leader's views of and Policies on Tibet; Cultural Assimilation - Destruction of Tibetan Buddhism; 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.

Since 2009, almost 100 known Tibetans, most of them in their teens and early twenties, have set themselves on fire in Tibet protesting Chinese rule and demanding freedom and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile.

The white paper explains that young Tibetans in Tibet have seen and experienced “China's constant assault" and their decision to set themselves on fire is a "stark judgment of Chinese rule in Tibet."

The most number of self-immolations in a month, 28, was recorded in November 2012, coinciding with the 18th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party. As many as five Tibetans set themselves on fire on the eve of the meeting.

Tibetan self-immolators have also called for the preservation of Tibetan language and in some cases carried out their protest outside Chinese mining sites in their region.

The Tibet Policy Institute is a think-tank that functions as a research-oriented intellectual platform for the CTA.
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