Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Tibet on Fire

By Joshua Eaton

Over 107 Tibetans have set themselves on fire since February 2009 to protest Chinese rule. Thousands more have demonstrated in the streets. Thousands have been arrested, detained, and disappeared. And it all has a long and complex backstory: land grabs, forced resettlement, language restrictions, religious repression, and more.

That’s a lot to take in. To make things worse, the news about Tibet is scattered across so many sources, most of which are little known and hard to find. 

Tibet on Fire is a new journalism platform that aims to fix those problems by bringing the news about the crisis in Tibet together in a way that helps make sense of it. We've already begun the task of collecting and verifying information about what’s going on in Tibet from news sources, NGOs, Tibetan and Chinese blogs, government sources, and social media. 

Here’s some of the information we’ve collected together, which we’re constantly updating:

A detailed list of every Tibetan self-immolation from February 2009 to present

A comparison of the different lists of self-immolators published by NGOs and journalists

Now we need to hire a developer so we can build the tools necessary to present all that information in a meaningful way: interactive maps, timelines, visualizations, infographics, videos, images, custom Twitter searches, English translations of Tibetan and Chinese news sources, and more.

Here are some examples of what we’d like to do:

Everything on Tibet on Fire is free and available for anyone to copy, use, and share through a Creative Commons license. We want media organizations, journalists, and activists to use our content and to share it with others.

But none of this can happen without your help.

If you’re a web developer, a programmer, a graphic designer, or a fundraiser who would like to help out, please contact us.

And, whoever you are, please consider giving to our online fundraising campaign.

Joshua Eaton is a writer on Buddhism, politics, and culture. His full bio and more of his writings can be found at his website,

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