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Story Publication logo October 22, 2013

Tibet: A Wave of Self-Immolations

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On January 12th, 22-year-old Tsering Tashi walked into the main square of Amchok township, a...

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Illustration by Martin Ansin. The New Yorker, 2013.

More than 100 Tibetans have self-immolated since 2011 — including monks and nuns, farmers and nomads, adults and teenagers. The Chinese government blames the "The Dalai Lama Clique." Meanwhile, Tibetans hope that the self-immolations will bring global awareness to China's policies towards Tibet.

Jeffrey Bartholet looks at the human and political dimensions of the burnings — their meaning, their possible impact, and the battle over who controls the narrative. He also explores the peculiar history of self-immolation, and the related debate among some Tibetan Buddhists about whether they constitute acceptable or unacceptable violence.

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