An 18-year-old Tibetan set himself ablaze on Monday while walking from a bridge to a Chinese office in Sichuan’s Aba Autonomous Prefecture.
The incident marks the third self-immolation in the past three days, and the 25th in the past 12 months – 18 of which proved fatal, including this latest case. The self-incinerations are part of an ongoing demonstration against China’s crackdown in Tibetan regions, but the recent spike in the number of deaths has increased alarm among activists:
“This third self-immolation in as many days underlines that Tibetans will not stop protesting until their calls for freedom are heeded,” Free Tibet Director Stephanie Brigden said in an emailed statement. “The international community must take immediate action.”
The Chinese government remains unmoved, stating that its rule over the Tibetan region since 1950 has been integral to civilizing a “backward” people, and it’s generally argued that the West doesn’t understand Tibet. Its tightening security measures (especially in Tibet’s Ngaba area), which the government ramped up after a monk self-immolated last March, attest to this viewpoint.
And until policy changes, we may see more and more self-inflicted infernos flaring up in the near future.
For Shanghaiist’s coverage on self-immolation incidents, click here.