In 1998, the first self-immolation protest by a Tibetan took place in New Delhi, India, when Thupten Ngodup set himself on fire during a hunger strike organised by the Tibetan Youth Congress. In Tibet, on 27 February 2009, self-immolation as a form of protest occurred for the first time in Tibet when Tapey, a 20-year-old monk from Kirti Monastery in Ngaba set his body on fire to protest Chinese rule. Since then, over 50 Tibetans have resorted to self-immolation protests to publicly express their discontent against the repressive policies of the Chinese government in Tibet.
Following the death of another Kirti monk, Lobsang Phuntsok, on 16 March 2011, 22 more Tibetans, including monks, nuns and laypeople, protested against the Chinese government by setting themselves on fire during the Iron Hare Year (2011).The Water Dragon Year (2012) began with three more self-immolations in February by Tibetans in Tibet.
In light of the recurring self-immolation protests, the Domey Exile Solidarity Alliance has meticulously put together the stories of Tibetan men and women who gave up their lives for the cause of “Tibet’s religious and political integrity”. These stories are compiled in this report titled “Iron Hare 2011: Flames of Resistance”, which chronicles the series of self-immolation protests, the consequent demonstrations of sympathy and solidarity by Tibetans both in Tibet and in exile, and statements of support by foreign governments and organisations.
The report is available for download on the TCHRD website here