Self-immolation truth: Tibetan Buddhism kidnapped by politics

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Buddha Sakyamuni has inspired his followers to hang on whatever adversity they might encounter, the series of clergy self-immolations on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, however, are misleading devout Tibetan Buddhists to think that it's permissible to give up hope and their lives so long as they follow suit.

The Potala Palace in Lhasa [file photo]

In one of most recent cases, Rechok, 35, a mother of three who lived in the Chatuo village of Rangtang of Aba, committed suicide by setting herself ablaze in the afternoon of May 30 and died on her way to a local hospital.

Police investigations showed Rechok had been caught up in a family feud with her alcoholic husband Namsetong. The couple been viciously arguing overnight, which aggravated the mother's pains from losing his eldest son Dropurang who ran away days before to become a monk despite the mother's objection.

Rechok's suicide was not politically motivated, according to police.

Still, her death was branded as a "protest at the growing influence of Han China in the Tibetan plateau" by the Free Tibet, an overseas group advocating Tibet independence, and used as an excuse by the Tibetan government-in-exile to attract international attention to the so-called "Tibet issue."

In mid-March, Sangpo Dondrup, a third-year student in a middle school of Sertar county of neighboring Ganzi prefecture, was found foaming at the mouth and groaning on the downtown Jingyuan Road, smelling of gasoline.

Police investigations later showed he had attempted self-immolation. The oldest of seven, Sangpo Dondrup felt stressed as his illiterate father had been harshly pressing him to get good grades since he entered middle school in 2009.

Feeling stuck in his study, the teenager stole fuel from his father's motorcycle. He swallowed some of it and splashed rest of the gasoline on his clothes and then went to the street. However, he failed to set himself alight.

"I didn' t know that it was so awful to swallow the gasoline," he said, scratching his hair in embarrassment.

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