Canada Tibet Committee protest targets Chinese consulate in Vancouver

When Lobsang Gendun set himself on fire on December 3 in the Qinghai province of China, the 29-year-old monk became the 92nd Tibetan to self-immolate since February 2009 in protest against Chinese rule in Tibet.

For Vancouver activist Mati Bernabei, it’s a sign that the situation in Tibet isn’t getting any better. Bernabei is the president of Vancouver chapter of the Canada Tibet Committee, a group planning two protest actions in front of the Chinese consulate (3380 Granville Street) on Monday (December 10), coinciding with the international observance of Human Rights Day.

“The Chinese government’s response to the self-immolations has been a further crackdown, rather than a more sensitive hearing of the reasons behind why people are getting to that level of desperation,” Bernabei told the Straight in a phone interview.

According to the local high-school teacher, self-immolations appear to be on the rise.

Based on Bernabei’s count and that of the Washington, D.C.–based International Campaign for Tibet, 28 Tibetans burned themselves in November alone. A day before Gendun’s fatal self-immolation, another Tibetan, Sungdue Kyab, set himself on fire. According to ICT, Kyab reportedly survived his burns.

The Chinese consulate in Vancouver did not respond to a call by the Straight before deadline.

According to Bernabei, the phenomenon of self-immolation is a difficult matter for Tibetans because the Buddhist faith doesn’t condone any form of violence, including violence against one’s self.

The impact of the self-immolations will be felt at the Monday rally outside the Chinese consulate from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and the candlelight vigil starting at 5 p.m.

“The emotion is a combination of honouring and respecting the people who have taken such extreme action—honouring and respecting their motivation—while trying not to honour the method,” Bernabei said.

While such self-immolations are acts of “political resistance against an oppressive power”, Bernabei added: “We’re also pleading to Tibetans not to harm themselves.”


We're now using Facebook for comments.



Dec 5, 2012 at 6:20pm

Thank you for writing this article and bringing to attention the crisis in Tibet, and the Protest and Vigil being held in Vancouver. The only correction I would make is for your opening line. The self-immolation did not occur in Qinghai province of China but in the Golog Pema region of Amdo, Tibet. Tibet is a country under illegal military occupation by China, and there is a general call to journalists to not continue a false impression to the public that these areas are part of China. Thank you and best wishes.


Dec 6, 2012 at 1:15pm

Communist China is a Brutal Xenophobic Han Chinese Dictatorship that wants to takeover other Countries in the Region and Kill and Replace the original population with hard core Communist Han Chinese.

* No amount of Trade or Appeasement of this Communist Beast will make them Civil or act with compassion to other Countries and or Humans.

* By buying Made in (Communist) China we are only enabling a Third World War possible by allowing the Communist Chinese to arm themselves with WMD's.

* We should all make a concerted effort to buy anything other than Made in China to effect them to change.



Dec 6, 2012 at 1:39pm

Just Boycott Made in Communist China and/or owned by them.

Don't buy from the Beast and the Evil Communist Human Rights State will starve to Death giving the people the power to usher in a Democratic Civil China.

12 9Rating: +3