Self immolation. Why is it so popular in China?

Seems like whenever you read about people lighting themselves on fire it’s in China. It’s got to be the most painful way to kill yourself. Why is it so popular over there?

I’m not sure, but I doubt they do it because it is “popular”. I’ve always been under the impression it was done to make a point in protest over something.

What? The famous monk immolation photo from the 1960’s is in Vietnam, recently there has been some self immolations in Tibet. And the reason they are setting themselves on fire is that they don’t want to be part of China.

The self immolation that started the whole arab spring last year was in Tunisia with a wave of other ones in nearby countries including Algeria. I doubt your OP.

Yeah. I suppose you’re right.

Either way what a horribly painful way to kill yourself. What makes these people choose hat method I wonder.

It brings to light the atrocities being protested.

There’s a Buddhist religious tradition of using self-immolation as a non-violent form of protest (hence the most well known cases being monks in Vietnam and Tibet). The horrible painfulness is presumably part of the point, it gets peoples attention and demonstrates that someone’s really committed to their protest. And if the person is Buddhist, it also demonstrates non-attachement.

Pretty much every instance of self-immolation I’ve ever heard of has been some form of political protest. In addition to those mentioned above, several people did this during the Prague Spring in Czechoslovakia.

Self-immolation is extremely dramatic and quite unusual. People commit suicide every day, but they hardly ever burn themselves to death in a public place. Doing so pretty much guarantees that your death (and the issue that brought it about) will make the news around the world. And because it’s such a painful death, more people will stop and think about that issue. “Wow, that’s got to be the worst way to go. Why did he do it again? Is the situation in XYZ really that bad?”

Hee hee. It sure does.

A street vendor setting himself on fire in Tunisia is credited with starting the Arab Spring and just last week an Israeli protester set himself on fire. There are many examples of it happening outside of China.

I’d like to here any medicos opinion on this, "Some victims of severe burns report not feeling their injuries while they are still in danger or intent on saving others. "

If you survive, yes it will be horribly painful, I suspect if using a volatile enough fuel, by the time you would be feeling it you’d pass out from the carbon monoxide and other fumes. There have been famous cases of buddhist monks remaining motionless while immolating and while some of that could be down to meditation and self control, some of it might just be that the pain only kicks in later for those that survive.

Yeah, what with economic woes inflaming a significant segment of the public, this is one trend you can safely say is really on fire.

:smack: Geez, those puns were so bad they almost burned.

…I’m sorry. I’ll go to time-out now.

Also, a Tibetan activist did this during the BRICS Summit in March in New Delhi.

The first one to make major world headlines during the Viet Nam war was Thích Quảng Đức, who was protesting the treatment of Buddhists in South Viet Nam by the Catholic regime of Ngo Dinh Diem. (“In Terrifying Color: Vietnamese Buddhist Monk’s 1963 Self-Immolation”. The colorized version of the photo is much more recent.)

In the same Buddhist monastery was another monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, who later became (and still is) world-famous by writing books discussing Buddhism in terms very “accessible” to non-Buddhists. In one of his books, he describes this incident.

He describes that Thích Quảng Đức planned the protest months in advance, and meditated extensively on it all that time to prepare himself.

From the article:
In recounting his coverage of the event for PBS’s “Reporting America at War” series, Malcolm Browne discusses what it was like to be in that moment:It was clearly theater staged by the Buddhists to achieve a certain political end. At the same time, there was a human element to it that was just horrifying, because the sequence of pictures showed the initial shock of the flames touching his face, and so forth. He never cried out or screamed, but you could see from his expression that he was exposed to intense agony, and that he was dying on the spot — and then, in the end, when the body was rigidly burned, they couldn’t stuff him into a casket because he was splayed out in all directions.