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No one can know for certain what Wangchen Kyi was thinking when she set herself on fire on Sunday in her home province of Qinghai.
The school-aged girl called out for the long life of the Dalai Lama prior to her death by self-immolation in Zekog County, Huangnan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.
Her untimely death at the tender age of 16 has provoked widespread grief and suspicion in China, as many people, Tibetan and Han alike, are shocked by her action and demand an investigation.
But as we condemn those who spurred her to action, we cannot help but lament the loss of her young life.
Most people her age are working hard to enter high school and university, carrying their own dreams for the future as well as their family’s hopes that they may realize their potential.
It is not surprising for many 16-year-old to be cynical and skeptical.
Deciding who to follow and what to trust are critical elements that shape the minds and values of young people. If misguided, they may make serious mistakes and even put their lives at risk.
Though police are still investigating Wangchen Kyi’s death, her final words show that she had been misled by “Tibet independence” forces that seek to separate the Tibet Autonomous Region and other Tibetan communities from China.
She was not the first to die in the flames ignited by secessionists under the guise of a seemingly great undertaking.
More than 90 Tibetans have set themselves on fire since 2009, with a spate of self-immolations in China’s Tibetan areas in just the past month.The majority of these victims have been young people in their late teens and 20s.
The string of self-immolations has almost always been covered, both in real time and in full, by overseas “Tibet independence” groups, with detailed personal information and photos of the deceased.
As if to rev up the atmosphere, these tragic deaths are often followed by “protests” and rallies around the world, from hunger strikes in Taiwan to sit-ins at the United Nations headquarters in New York, in which “Tibet independence” advocates pronounce their appeals for Tibet to become an “independent country” in no uncertain terms.
The 14th Dalai Lama, who allegedly retired from his political roles early last year, has periodically done away with his facade of “non-violence” and tacitly approved of self-immolations.
The so-called “spiritual leader” of Tibetan Buddhists has refused to condemn self-immolations and turned a cold shoulder to the lives lost.
On one occasion earlier this year, he gave an abrupt, “No answer,” to a journalist’s question on whether Tibetan monks should stop their self-immolations. Rather than denouncing and calling for an end to the suicidal acts that deviate from the tenets of Buddhism, the 14th Dalai Lama has praised the “courage” of those who self-immolate.
The 14th Dalai Lama’s attitude is anything but surprising. Under the Dalai Lama’s rule in old Tibet, the lives of ordinary Tibetans were considered to be of little or no value.
The monk claims he has been fighting for the “rights and interests” of Tibetans since he fled China in 1959.
Such claims, however, are merely meant to appease devout Tibetan Buddhists who still have faith in him and to persuade his Western patrons to continue to support his “Tibet independence” movement, which aims to eventually separate the autonomous region from China.
With this in mind, it is not hard to figure out who has been behind the scenes pulling the strings that have resulted in these fiery deaths.
After all, self-immolations and losses of lives have served the 14th Dalai Lama and his followers well by attracting wider international attention, which they hope will help them achieve their goals of an “independent Tibet.”(from Beijing shots)