Tibetan Parliament concludes budget session, self-immolations tops agenda
Dharamsala (Himachal Pradesh): Mounting incidents of self immolations as mark of protest against Chinese oppression topped the agenda of lawmakers as the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile wrapped up its budget session here on Thursday.
Speaking to reporters, the Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile, Penpa Tsering, said: “We discussed on the grave critical situation inside Tibet, with the resolution that mourns the death of the self immolators and today at the session we will be moving another resolution by adding two more people who self immolated when the parliament was in session. And we have added two more people who were unconfirmed earlier, so now the total toll has gone up to 113 self immolators and 95 who have succumbed to injuries.”
He also shared details of the budget approval for the current financial year as approved by the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile.
“The final approval by the Parliament for the coming year 2013-14 is about 153.50 crore rupees that the Central Tibetan Administration and some of its branches will be spending next year on recurring expenses, on special expenses and also earmarked expenses,” added Speaker of Tibetan Parliament in-exile, Tsering.
The 15th session of the Tibetan Parliament in-exile began on a sombre note on March 18 where the members of the house expressed concern over the rising number of self-immolation cases in Tibet.
The Chinese authorities have detained 70 people in a crackdown on self-immolations in ethnic Tibetan regions, the largest single reported sweep of suspects to date as the government tries to stop the unrest.
More than 100 Tibetans have set themselves on fire to protest against Chinese rule since 2009 across a large swathe of ethnically Tibetan regions, with most of them dying from their injuries.
In the past few months, the government has begun a new tactic to discourage the protests, detaining and jailing people it deems to have incited the burnings.
However, the members of the Tibetan Parliament pledged to escalate their efforts to garner support for the freedom of Tibet, while taking stock of the loss of lives because of the self-immolations.
China has repeatedly denounced exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and overseas Tibetan groups for fomenting the self-immolations.
Beijing considers Nobel peace Laureate the Dalai Lama, who fled from China in 1959 after an abortive uprising against Chinese rule, as a violent separatist.
But on his part, the Dalai Lama says he is merely seeking greater autonomy for his Himalayan homeland.
China has defended its iron-fisted rule in Tibet, saying the remote region suffered from dire poverty, brutal exploitation and economic stagnation until 1950, when Communist troops "peacefully liberated" it. Tibetan areas in China have been largely closed to foreign reporters, making an independent assessment of the situation there hard.