The Burning Question

The Burning Question: Why are Tibetans Turning into Self-immolations?

‘The Burning Question: Why are Tibetans Turning into Self-immolations? featured background information about the ongoing wave of self-immolation inside Tibet. Since 2009, a total of 153 Tibetans have set themselves alight. Sixty years of Chinese occupation and rule have failed to address the grievances of the Tibetan people. The genuine aspiration for basic freedom and the preservation of Tibetan culture and identity has been met with repressive measures, which have led to political repression, economic marginalisation, cultural assimilation and environmental destruction in Tibet.

Hence, in the absence of space for conventional form of protests, Tibetans have resorted to the drastic action of setting oneself on fire, believing it is the only way to bring the world’s attention to the plight of the Tibetan people.

The exhibition aims to inform the global community about the current situation inside Tibet and the reason behind Tibetans in Tibet taking drastic step like self-immolations.



Self Immolators' Last words

“Father, being a Tibetan is so difficult. We can’t even say our prayer before the Dalai Lama’s portrait. We have no freedom at all…”

-Tamdin Tso, 23 year old, mother of a 7 year old boy

“The Chinese are not letting us live in peace, it’s better to die, better to die.”

-Lhamo Kyab, 27 year old

“Every nationality needs freedom, language and tradition. If we don’t have them, it would be extremely embarrassing for us.”

-Ngawang Norphel, 22 year old

“This is the twenty-first century, and this is the year in which so many Tibetan heroes have died. I am sacrificing my body both to stand in solidarity with them in flesh and blood. This is not to seek personal fame or glory.”

-Tulku Sonam Wangyal a.k.a Sopa Rinpoche, 42 year old

The Burning Questions