Tibetan Sets Himself Ablaze Ahead of Hu Jintao’s Visit To India
A Tibetan person on Monday set himself ablaze and ran shouting in the streets of New Delhi, the capital of India, ahead of a state visit of Chinese president Hu Jintao. The man was identified as Janphel Yeshi, 27, and is said to have been on fire for 10 minutes before the police arrived.
The man is said to have suffered severe burns as a result of his act, but his life was saved. This is the second attempt at self-immolating in the capital of India, where many people found sanctuary for themselves after the Tibetan authorities went in exile in the late 1950s and established a government in exile at Dharamsala, India.
There are reports that described Yeshi as an unemployed, resident of the main Tibetan neighborhood in Delhi. He is said to have fled China in 2005, and to have planned the protest for days, as he came to Jantar Mantar, a place where many protest are being staged, with a canister of kerosene he poured on himself. There are reports who say he was performing jobs at a monastery.
He is said to have ran in flames past a podium where a rally was being held against the visit of Chinese president, who is expected to arrive in India on Wednesday, after the summit on nuclear non-proliferation held in Seoul on Monday and Tuesday.
Fellow Tibetans are said to have put the fire out with Tibetan flags and water they poured on him. According to the Association of Tibetan Journalists, 98 percent of his body were affected by the burns.
The activists are said to have attempted to prevent the police from taking the body to the hospital, but that they took it by force. They made it clear that they were not behind his self-immolation.
They said they did not know how it happened but that they admired the courage of the protester. An official of Tibetan Youth called on the participants to the five-day economic summit Hu Jintao is attending to raise the issue of Tibet, since the Chinese president is responsible for what is happening to them.
At the site of the protest a large poster with Hu, with a bloody palm print over his face, read “Hu Jin Tao is unwelcome” at the summit. More than 600 people from Tibet marched through the centre of the Indian capital to the plaza near the parliament protesting Hu’s visit. They carried posters what read “Tibet is burning” and “Tibet is not China.”
Ho will attend in India a summit of the group of emerging powers called BRICS, which comprises Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Police was tightened to prevent any unpleasant surprise, and many Tibetans were arrested.
The self-immolation today is part of a stream of such protests sparked last year, performed by Tibetans from the provinces with Tibetan population in China, who demand that the colonization of their territory with Han Chinese be stopped and the people be permitted more religious and cultural freedom.
30 people have set themselves on fire since last year, many of them monks and nuns, including teenagers. Most of them lost their lives in the process, compelling the spiritual leader of Tibet, Dalai Lama, to hold a day of fasting and prayer for the dead.
Dalai Lama has condemned the practice of self-immolation on more than one occasion, as an infringement of the sanctity of life. Even so, the Chinese authorities put the blame of the protests on him.
A state-run website called China Tibet Online posted last week an article called “Seven Questions for the Dalai Lama” in which the author accuses the spiritual leader of Tibet of being the instigator of the self-immolations; of being on the CIA pay roll; of being faithful to the Indian state more than he is to China; of desiring to kick out the Han Chinese in the future.
The website also accuses him of having practices that remind of the “Nazi” regime, and drew a parallel to the practice of the regime in Germany. China Tibet Online has an entire smear campaign of Dalai Lama, pointing out that China does not tolerate self-immolations in Tibet, which it deemed sometimes as “terrorist acts.”
China has a very important year, when the transfer of power must be completed to the net generation of politicians. This is a rather complicated process in China, and involves stability in the country. It is for this reason that the country has tighten up measures to prevent any possible problems in Tibet.
Tibet was annexed by China in 1959, and has been an autonomous region ever since, with Chinese authorities ruling it, and, in their own words, bringing it from a medieval state into modernity.
Dalai Lama is considered the most important enemy of China and has been accused on numerous occasions of desiring to separate Tibet from China. His visits to the White House have created many times tensions with the American administration. Last year Dalai Lama was denied the right to visit South Africa, a move which angered Bishop Desmond Tutu, who had invited him.11