China attacks Dalai Lama over self-immolations by Tibetans

Beijing accused Dalai Lama group of "instigating and masterminding" suicides in order to tarnish its image.

Updated: Nov 21, 2012, 17:05 PM IST

Beijing: As the numbers of self-immolation protests in Tibet went up, coinciding with the recent leadership change in China, Beijing Wednesday accused Dalai Lama group of "instigating and masterminding" suicides in order to tarnish its image.

"For any country or any religion, people`s life is very precious, but some people, in order to gain their political gains, even go as far as to glorifying self-immolations", China`s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying told a media briefing here today.

"They even masterminded it and instigated such behaviours for their political purposes", she said answering a question on increasing number of self immolations in the recent days during and after the 18th Communist Party Congress to select new leadership.

More than eight such attempts, protesting the Chinese rule and calling for the return of Dalai Lama from exile, have been reported from different parts of the Himalayan region since November 8.

About 80 cases of self immolations have been reported during the past few months.

The suicides appeared unabated as the new leadership headed by Xi Jinping took charge.

It is not clear yet whether the new leadership would strike a reconciliatory tone by re-opening the stalled dialogue with the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader to ease the tensions.

Back channel talks, held long ago failed to make headway despite Dalai Lama`s acceptance of Tibet as part of China.

Chinese officials say that his demand for integration of all Tibetan prefectures and departure of settlers from outsides were not acceptable.

"Friends from the media and other people can recognise the true face of the Dalai group to tarnish China`s image by instigating and masterminding self-immolation activities", Hua said.

"This is against human conscience and morality as well as national laws and Buddhist doctrines", she said.

"The Chinese government is resolute in upholding sovereignty and territorial integrity. The central government will continue to uphold its existing policies, ensure the social and economic development, maintain social order and protect people`s rights and interests.

"We firmly oppose any attempts to accuse China`s religious policies in disregard of facts", she said.