For some, bringing in the new year means praying for good things to come. Kristina Olsen ponders the reasons for prayer in her song, "Prayer Flags." She tells the story behind it in the latest edition of What's in a Song, a series from the Western Folklife Center.
The Tibetan Labrang Monastery in Gansu, northwestern China, is normally a place of tranquility. Now, it is also known for tragedy. Early this morning, a Tibetan farmer known as Dhondup headed to Labrang to perform the Buddhist ritual of walking around the monastery in prayer. Near the prayer hall inside the gold-roofed monastery, Dhondup lit himself ablaze in protest of Chinese rule in Tibet.
In recent days, three Tibetans have set themselves on fire to protest Chinese rule. In the past year, it's been reported that more than 30 people have set themselves on fire and most have died. Renee Montagne talks to Robert Barnett, an expert on Tibet, for more on why Tibetans have been protesting Chinese repression by setting themselves on fire.
They fear what might happen if Tibetans were allowed to live freely and others under Chinese rule started to demand more respect for their rights. That has meant, he said, that "they ignore ... reality and they impose their rules. ... That's the problem."