From nearly any point in Lhasa, capital of China’s Tibet Autonomous Region, you can see at least two police checkpoints.
At each one, police officers stand by, wielding a metal pincer devised for handling people who are on fire. The pincers consist of a pole, approximately six feet in length and with a large hook or hoop at the end, and allow policemen to seize burning protestors by the waist or neck. The devices, which resemble an oversized surgical instrument, are intended to deter any would-be protestors by ensuring that they can quickly be subdued and concealed.
Large military trucks drive down the streets of Lhasa in groups of two, often accompanied by armored police vans that double as holding cells. In a city famous for its exotic, otherworldly charm, the police presence is jarring.
Read more. [Image: Anastasia Correll]
Jamphel Yeshi, a Tibetan exile who set himself on fire to protest Chinese rule, died from his burns in New Delhi on Wednesday — and has now become the symbol and a martyr for Tibetan suffering. ”In the early evening, more than 200 people walked through the town center waving Tibetan flags and carrying banners that proclaimed Jamphel Yeshi, who died on Wednesday, a martyr,” reports The New York Times' Edward Wong in Dharamasala, India.
Yeshi set himself on fire in New Delhi on Monday, making a statement right before Chinese President Hu Jintao’s visit to the BRIC summit. His death on Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal reports, came just hours before Hu landed in the city. As both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal confirm, Yeshi isn’t the first Tibetan exile to set himself on fire in India — The Wall Street Journal reports that at least 30 have taken place in China’s Tibetan regions. What makes Yeshi’s different, as The New York Times details, is that Chinese forces strangled coverage of these immolations — with only a few showing up as grainy video or cell phone images. Yeshi’s self-immolation was caught by international photographers. (WARNING: Very graphic.)
Read more. [Image: Reuters]