GUEST POST: Joshua Eaton on the New Journalism Platform “Tibet On Fire”

Today we present a guest post written by my friend Joshua Eaton, who will tell us about his exciting new journalism platform Tibet on Fire.

At this point, Joshua should require no introduction at this blog. But just in case: Joshua is the editor, writer, and translator who founded the visionary Dana Wiki ( — an online resource meant to aid Buddhist Americans in community service work. A graduate of the Master of Divinity in Buddhist Studies program at the Harvard Divinity School, he also served as editor-in-chief of Cult/ure: The Graduate Journal of Harvard Divinity School during his time at the institution. Today, among other things, he is a contributing scholar at the Journal of Inter-Religious Dialogue’s State of Formation. Joshua is also an active, must-follow Twitterer @joshua_eaton.

I’ve also interviewed Joshua twice — once for Shambhala Sun Space, and once for this blog.

In addition, Joshua and I collaborated last year on an open letter from Buddhist teachers and scholars and others on Islamophobia at He authored the letter — though a few of us offered little tweaks and edits — and I put together the website and helped him get the word out and generate signatures.

In addition to Tibet On Fire, Joshua is currently collaborating with Al Jazeera English on an interactive map of self-immolations in Tibet that will use use Tibet on Fire’s data. (The Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy and the international NGO Free Tibet have already used some of their data, as well.) We’ll have more on Joshua’s work as it develops. In the meantime, here he is to tell us a bit about where things are now…

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:

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.

For more about Joshua and his work, visit his official website at Also, make sure to keep up with Tibet On Fire at

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