TCHRD releases documentary on Tibetan immolations

The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) released today a short documentary film on Tibetan immolations that have captured the conscience of many around the world.

Since 2009 in Tibet, 95 Tibetans have burned their bodies to protest against increasing oppression under Chinese rule, calling for the return of their spiritual leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet. They also called for religious freedom, language rights, equality and freedom in Tibet. Some died at mining sites protesting resource extraction, desecration of sacred land and undermining Tibetan spiritual traditions and belief system. Pema Dorjee, the 93rd Tibetan who died of protest self-immolation called for Tibetan land to be governed by Tibetans.

TCHRD documentary looks at the lives of some of the Tibetans who gave up their lives for Tibet’s freedom through the eyes of their relatives in exile in India. The 26-minute long documentary, titled Beyond the Numbers: A Human Perspective on Tibet’s Self-immolation, attempts to restore the full humanity of an immolator beyond the mere number he may get reduced to. It is an endeavor to tell the stories of how they lived, dreamed and died. Beyond the numbers, they have names, they had lives, and they had dreams. It also tells the stories of ongoing struggle of those who are left behind. An uncle fondly recollects anecdotes about his 22-yr-old nephew’s childhood mischiefs even as he struggles to comprehend the loss of a young life. A monk tells about his emotional struggle to reconcile to the loss of both his nephew and niece in protest self-immolations.

TCHRD is indebted to Katie Lin, a Canadian multimedia journalist who helped produce and edit this short documentary. Born to British and Chinese parents, her diverse background and the international nature of her career have not only taken her to multiple continents, but they have also contributed to both her interest in what is going on beyond Canadian borders and the culturally-sensitive approach she takes to the countries, themes, and people she interacts with.

The documentary was screened at Tibet Museum in Mcleod Ganj, Dharamsala.

The documentary will also be released at an event in Duncan in British Columbia (Canada) on 13 December at 6pm (GMT -8). A screening and panel discussion will mark the event in Duncan.

You can view the documentary here: Beyond the Numbers: a Human Perspective on Tibet’s Self-immolations

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