Dalai Lama slams China on immolations

2012-11-12 10:00
Dorje Rinchen, a farmer in his late 50s, runs after setting himself on fire on the main street in Xiahe in northwestern China's Gansu province. (File/AP)

Dorje Rinchen, a farmer in his late 50s, runs after setting himself on fire on the main street in Xiahe in northwestern China's Gansu province. (File/AP)

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Tokyo - The Chinese government is not "seriously" probing the cause of a spate of self-immolations by Tibetans across China, the Dalai Lama said on Monday, Japanese media reported.

"The Chinese government should investigate the cause [of the incidents]. China does not look into it seriously and tries to end [the incidents] only by criticising me," Kyodo News reported in Japanese.

The report comes after seven people set themselves on fire in a week as the ruling Communist party meets to anoint new rulers for the next decade.

The Dalai Lama was speaking to reporters in Okinawa, in the south of Japan, the latest leg of a 12-day visit to the country.

His comments, which were translated by Kyodo into Japanese, are thought to be the first on the issue since the Communist Party congress began in Beijing last week.

On Saturday an 18-year-old Tibetan died after setting himself ablaze in front of a monastery in northwestern China's Gansu province, Xinhua news agency said, the latest incident to highlight simmering desperation in Tibetan areas.

Widespread social unrest

Sixty-nine people have set themselves on fire to protest Chinese rule of Tibet since 2009, of whom 54 have died, the India-based Tibetan government-in-exile had said before the latest incident.

But the immolations have gained pace in recent months and particularly in the past week as the Communist Party opened its sensitive congress on Thursday to pass the baton of power to the next generation of party apparatchiks.

The Communists, who face widespread social unrest across the country, particularly in minority areas, have sought to project an image of national unity during the highly stage-managed gathering.

The escalating protests have been aimed at undercutting the facade, according to representatives of the Tibetan government-in-exile in India.

On the sidelines of the congress on Friday, officials from the Tibetan Communist Party angrily denounced the Dalai Lama and overseas Tibetan "separatists" for orchestrating the immolations to breed unrest.

"The Dalai Lama clique and overseas Tibetan separatists have been sacrificing other people's lives for their own secret political aims," said Losang Gyaltsen, vice-chairperson of the Tibet region's government.

Read more on:    dalai lama  |  china  |  tibet  |  self-immolations
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