Dalai Lama blames Beijing for self-immolations
Dharamsala: Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama has blamed Beijing for igniting self-immolation protests in Tibet, saying the issue is "very political", a post on his official website said on Saturday.
"The development is very sad. The issue is very political," the Nobel Peace laureate told reporters in California when asked about the two latest cases of self-immolation in Tibet.
"There are some who feel that the self-immolations have occurred all of a sudden. It is not so and is directly related to more than two decades of policies by local Chinese authorities," he said.
The spiritual leader said the tightening of control in monasteries and schools and efforts to start political education in monasteries made some Tibetans say that there was a sort of semi-cultural revolution taking place. "Further tightening of control and suppression has been the immediate cause of the 2008 demonstrations in Tibet," the 76-year-old monk said.
Two more young Tibetans immolated themselves in Tibet's northeastern Ngaba region Thursday, the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) based here said.
A total of 36 people have reportedly killed themselves since 2009 to protest Beijing's "repressive policies" and demand the return of the Dalai Lama to his homeland, it said.
The Dalai Lama said the Tibetans have their own language and culture and the Chinese leadership "is targeting that".
Citing comments by Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao about the need for political reform and sidelining of a key hardliner, the Dalai Lama said: "May be the open-minded leaders could be getting the upper hand".
The CTA has already clarified that the Dalai Lama has always discouraged drastic action and the Tibetan cabinet has made repeated appeals to refrain from extreme measures.
The Dalai Lama fled Tibet along with many of his supporters and took refuge in India when Chinese troops moved in and took control of Lhasa in 1959.
China has denounced the Dalai Lama as the "ringleader of the conspiracy of Free Tibet".