New York Times Editorial (November 29, 2013)
On Nov. 11, Tsering Gyal, a 20-year-old Tibetan Buddhist monk, set himself on fire in China’s Qinghai Province. Mr. Gyal’s death brings the number of Tibetans who have self-immolated since 2009 to 123. Letters some have left and eyewitness accounts of dying words leave no doubt about the cause of these horrible deaths: anguish over Chinese repression.
Tibet has suffered spasms of violence at different points in its history since China took over in 1950 and the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists, fled the region in 1959. But the current wave of self-immolations is a new and tragic trend. Many Tibetans feel forcibly estranged from their language, culture and religion by repressive Chinese policies that have intensified since a wave of protests engulfed the region in 2008.