|Source: News Bharati|
Lhasa, November 8: The Dalai Lama has blamed the Chinese government’s policy of ‘cultural genocide’ in Tibet for a wave of self-immolations that has struck restive Tibetan areas of western China this year.
At least 11 Tibetans, all of them Buddhist nuns, monks or former monks, have set themselves on fire since March to protest against Chinese rule and religious repression, according to human rights and exile groups. The 'cultural genocide' that Tibetans face under hardline Chinese rule is to be blamed for a recent wave of self-immolations, the Dalai Lama has said.
Dalai Lama has reportedly said that the Chinese communist propaganda creates a very rosy picture, But actually, including many Chinese from mainland China who visit Tibet, they all have the impression that how the things are terrible. Some kind of policy, some kind of cultural genocide is taking place, he added.
The Tibetan spiritual leader said hard-line officials had created a desperate situation that is responsible for self-immolations among monks and nuns in ethnic Tibetan parts of Sichuan.
“(In the) last 10, 15 years, there were some kind of hard-liner Chinese officials,” the Dalai Lama said. “So that's why you see these sad incidents have happened due to (this) desperate sort of situation,” he added.
Eleven young Tibetans have set themselves on fire this year in apparent protest against Chinese rule. The most recent was a nun in Dawu County, who died after setting herself on fire last week.
Tibetans have said that Chinese rule and the large-scale migration of Han Chinese are eroding their culture and traditions, and that they are not allowed to practise their religion freely.
At a press conference in Tokyo on Monday, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader said Beijing’s hardline policy towards any hint of dissent among Tibetans was the real cause of the demonstrations.
“That’s why you see these sad incidents have happened, due to this desperate sort of situation,” he said. “Including many Chinese from mainland China who visit Tibet, they all have the impression things are terrible. Some kind of cultural genocide is taking place.”
In the latest incident, a 35-year-old Tibetan nun called Palden Choetso drank petrol, doused herself with it and then set herself on fire last week in the mainly Tibetan town of Tawu, in Kandze prefecture in China’s Sichuan province.
Nine Buddhist monks and two nuns have set themselves alight since March, when the first burning prompted a harsh government crackdown and a ‘re-education’ programme for monks at the Kirti monastery, where the first incident occurred.
“Tibetans for the last 60 years have peacefully protested even in China in an attempt to not harm anyone,” said Tempa Tsering, a representative of the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, northern India. “Tibetans are now torturing themselves to draw attention of the Chinese government, people and rest of the world.”
Self-immolation was almost unheard of among Tibetans until this year, with exile groups recording only one previous example, in 2009, when a monk from the Kirti monastery set himself on fire to protest against the government’s strict religious policies.
The spate of self-immolations this year has prompted the harshest crackdown in Tibetan areas of Sichuan since anti-Chinese riots erupted across the Tibetan plateau in 2008, prompting a huge clampdown and new religious and security policies aimed at stamping out unrest.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch last week wrote a letter to the Chinese government calling on it to carry out a comprehensive review of the human rights situation across the Tibetan plateau.
The Dalai Lama said last week that it was Beijing’s ‘ruthless and illogical’ policies toward his homeland that had triggered the tragic wave of burnings.
Meanwhile, the Chinese government has blamed the Dalai Lama for encouraging the self-immolations and says he and his ‘clique’ are engaged in ‘disguised terrorism’ and ‘pursuing separatism by harming people’.