Tibet’s Slow Burn


We are inside his mud-brick lodgings, safe from the security cameras that track a people so desperate that about 130 Tibetans have torched their own bodies in fiery dissent since 2011. Clerics, farmers, herdsmen, teachers, even a 15-year-old schoolgirl have all self-immolated to protest Chinese rule. Here, in the hills around Labrang Monastery, one of the holiest sites in Tibetan Buddhism, a dozen people have chosen such incendiary suicide against the Chinese authorities. In the ensuing security crackdown, communist minders have instructed local clergy not to talk about politics or anything that might harm the illusion of serenity. Yet this monk, who was ordained when he was 11 years old, speaks out. “The Chinese government has stolen our holy place,” he says, “and turned it into a tourist destination.”

For much of the year, the whitewashed labyrinth of Labrang, in the barren furrows of northwest China’s Gansu province, heaves with…

View original post 2,277 more words