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Wire pullers behind fiery deaths

(China Tibet Online)

08:52, December 13, 2012

No one can know for certain what Wangchen Kyi was thinking when she set herself on fire on Sunday in her home province of Qinghai.

The school-aged girl allegedly called for the long life of the Dalai Lama prior to her death by self-immolation in Zekog County, Huangnan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.

Her untimely death at the tender age of 16 has provoked widespread grief and suspicion in China, as many people, Tibetan and Han alike, are shocked by her action and demand an investigation.

But as we condemn those who spurred her to action, we cannot help but lament over the loss of her young life.

Most people her age are working hard to enter high school and university, carrying their own dreams for the future as well as their family's hopes that they may realize their potential.

It is not surprising for any16-year-old to be cynical and skeptical. When I was that age, I was hasty and defiant. I felt I knew the ropes, and that others -- especially anyone in a position of authority -- were all good for nothing.

Deciding who to follow and what to trust are critical elements that shape the minds and values of young people. If misguided, they may make serious mistakes and even put their lives at risk.

Though police are still investigating Wangchen Kyi's death, her final words show that she had been misled by "Tibet independence" forces that seek to separate Tibet Autonomous Region and other Tibetan communities from China.

She was certainly not the first to die in the flames ignited by secessionists under the guise of a seemingly great undertaking.

More than 90 Tibetans have set themselves on fire since 2009, with a spate of self-immolations in China's Tibetan areas in just the past month.

The majority of these victims have been young people in their late teens and 20s.

The string of self-immolations has almost always been covered, both in real time and in full, by overseas "Tibet independence" groups, with detailed personal information and photos of the deceased.

As if to tone up the atmosphere, these tragic deaths are often followed by "protests" and rallies around the world, from hunger strikes in Taiwan to sit-ins at the United Nations headquarters in New York, in which "Tibet independence" advocates pronounce their appeals for Tibet to become an independent country in no uncertain terms.

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