China in Tibet: A Brutal Occupation

For centuries Tibet, a high altitude plateau between China and India, remained remote from the rest of the world with a widely dispersed population of nomads, farmers, monks and traders. Tibet had its own national flag, its own currency, a distinct culture and religion, and controlled its own affairs.

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Self-immolations by Tibetans reach 152

Tibetan flagLast Updated: December 27, 2017

This list provides summary details of the self-immolations by Tibetans in the PRC since February, 2009 (all except one, by a Tibetan woman in Beijing, have taken place in Tibet).

The Chinese authorities in Tibet have intensified measures to prevent information reaching the outside world about the self-immolations. This has been combined with a more aggressive and formalized response to the self-immolations, involving harsh sentencing and torture for those suspected of involvement, even if that is simply bearing witness. Due to this climate, it is impossible for this list to be fully comprehensive, and it is indicated on the list where circumstances of the self-immolations are not fully known.


Tibetan Refugees

Tibetans are denied the space to develop and express their distinct culture and identity as the Chinese government’s vision of progress and development takes shape in Tibet.

In recent years between 2,500 and 3,500 Tibetans on average have made the dangerous crossing thru the Himalayas to India thru Nepal. However, China’s ensuing crackdown on the overwhelmingly peaceful protests which began in March 2008 has led to a dramatic decrease of refugees in 2008, with only 652 known to have made the journey. Unfortunately, the status of Tibetans in Nepal has grown increasingly unstable as China exerts greater influence on Nepal’s policies towards Tibetans.

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Political Prisoners

political prisoners
Tibetan political prisoners endure harsh prison conditions, including torture, deprivation of food and sleep, and long periods in isolation cells. The majority of Tibetan political prisoners have been convicted of “crimes” relating to peaceful political activities, and for simply exercising their fundamental human rights.

Since 1988, the International Campaign for Tibet has helped get many Tibetan political prisoners released including Phuntsog Nyidron, Ngwang Sandrol, Takna Jigme Sangpo and Ngawang Choephel. ICT also provides avenues for the public to take action on behalf of current political prisoners.