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Tibetans finding it increasingly difficult to get passports

Tibetans who want to travel outside of China are finding it increasingly difficult to extract passports from Chinese officials, recent reports say — another result of China's crackdown on Tibetan dissenters.

China tightens controls on Tibet in wake of self-immolations

"At this critical moment for maintaining social stability in Huangnan prefecture ... (we must) strengthen measures and fully fight the special battle against self-immolations," said the Qinghai news agency.

Tibetan man self-immolates at famous Labrang monastery, activists say

The man is the 55th Tibetan to set fire to himself since March 2011, the Free Tibet group says.

Tibet calls for talks amid fiery protests

TAIPEI — The way Beijing sees it, Nobel Peace Prize Winner the Dalai Lama isn’t much different from Hitler, and Tibetan monks setting themselves on fire to protest continuing crackdowns are “separatist terrorists” who deserve to be locked up if they survive the flames. But that didn’t stop Tibet's government-in-exile Prime Minister Lobsang Sangay calling on Beijing to enter into talks, despite fresh reports of self-immolations and simmering tensions from a continuing Chinese crackdown on dissent.

Dalai Lama tells Internet that 'religion is no longer adequate'

Leader of Tibetan Buddhism states that "grounding ethics in religion is no longer adequate."
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<> at St Paul's Cathedral on May 14, 2012 in London, England. (Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
Is religion enough to curb the violence and unrest that's gripping the planet today? Even the Dalai Lama, spiritual head of Tibetan Buddhism, is feeling unsure.

Two Tibetan teenagers self-immolate and die

"Witnesses saw them run about 20 steps with their bodies on fire, and then they fell to the ground," two witnesses said.

Tibet: 50 self-immolations later

Q & A with Tenzin Dorjee, executive director of Students for a Free Tibet.
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A Tibetan monk in exile looks on during a candle lit vigil to commemorate 50 years in exile on March 10, 2009 in Dharamsala, India. His Holiness the Dalai Lama marks 50 years of exile today in Mcleod Ganj, the seat of the exiled Tibetan government near the town of Dharamsala. (Daniel Berehulak/AFP/Getty Images)

Once unheard of in Tibetan society, lighting oneself on fire has become a relatively common form of protest today. Since March 2009, there have been about 50 self-immolations in Tibet and ethnically Tibetan areas of China. Last week, Tibetan monk Lungtok, 21, and his friend Tashi, 20, from Ngaba county in Sichuan province became the latest to torch themselves in protest of China's repressive policies.

But, by most accounts, the repressive policies continue. Tibetan monks are still arrested and "re-educated." They are beaten and forced to denounce the Dalai Lama. They disappear.

Given the continuation of such brutaility, can we then say the self-immolations have failed?

Tenzin Dorjee, executive director of Students for a Free Tibet, doesn't think so, though he admits China has intensified its crackdown as a result of the self-immolations.

Dorjee says the extreme acts of protest have rallied disparate parts of the Tibetan diaspora around what he calls the "defining nonviolent movement of our time."

Here, Dorjee — a Tibetan born and raised in exile near Dharamsala, India — explains why he sees the spate of self-immolations as a success story above all.

GP: What, if anything, has changed as a result of these acts of protest?

The Chinese government has responded to the self-immolations in the same way it always responds to perceived threats to its absolute control over Tibet – by intensifying repression and trying to stamp out resistance. But what the self-immolations have shown is that Tibetans are slowly losing fear of the regime. If you are willing to light yourself on fire, you are saying to your occupier – your tools of oppression can no longer touch me; your mechanisms of torture and abuse no longer control me. In many ways, it is the ultimate expression of resistance.


Two Tibetans set themselves alight in Qinghai province

One man died and the other sustained serious injuries in the incident, which took place Wednesday.

Tibetan mother of 3 dies in self-immolation

The woman, said to be in her 30s, died after self-immolating outside a monestary in Aba county.
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