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A Tibetan exile doused himself with gas and set himself on fire during a protest at the Jantar Mantar Observatory in Delhi, a day before a visit by the Chinese president to India. More than 500 demonstrations marched across the city of Delhi, protesting against the visit by the Chinese premier, Hu Jintao, who attended a two-day economic summit in the capital with leaders from Brazil, Russia, and South Africa.
The man was identified as Jampa Yeshi, 27, who had been living in New Delhi for the past two years. Almost 85 percent of Yeshi’s body was burnt from the fire. By the time his fellow protesters attempted to extinguish the flames, his clothes had disintegrated, and his skin was mottled with black patches. He was taken to the hospital.
The Tibetans say that the Chinese crackdown against Tibet is so cruel that there is no other alternative to show their resentment than self-immolation. Dhondup Lhadar, an activist at the Tibetan Youth Congress, said, “Martyr Jampa Yeshi’s sacrifice will be written in golden words in [the] annals of our freedom struggle.”
In recent days, the Tibetan protests against China have increased dramatically with 30 acts of self-immolation inside Tibet over the last 15 months, their agony growing because of Chinese dominance over Tibet. China says that Tibet is an integral part of its territory, whereas the Tibetans say that the Himalayan region has been virtually independent for centuries.
Geographically, Tibet is located in the northeast by the Central Plain of China with Kashmir, India in the west and Nepal, India and Bhutan in the south. China fervently claims that Tibet has been a part of China from the mid-thirteenth century, so it should be ruled by China. China believes that Tibet has remained part of its territory since the Yuan Dynasty.
However, the Tibetans accuse China of suppressing their culture, heritage, freedom of expression, and most importantly, their freedom to worship however they please. The Tibetan government is in exile in India.
The Dalai Lama, who fled Tibet amid a failed uprising against Chinese rule in 1959, has blamed China’s ‘ruthless policy’ for the acts of self-immolation. The Dalai Lama won the Noble Peace Prize for his efforts in 1989. Beijing faces the heat of resentment, not just from Tibet, but from Taiwan and the Uighur Muslims from the Xinjiang Province in China.