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12 october 2011 002Dharamshala: China lashed out at the Dalai Lama's supporters on Tuesday for "inciting" the recent series of self-immolations among Tibetans in western China. Seven young men have set themselves on fire since March to protest Chinese religious control and repressive government policies. China restricts the practice of Tibetan Buddhism and labels their exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, a violent separatist.

The accusations from China come after the United State's expressed concern over the immolations occurring in Tibet. U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland on Tuesday implored the Chinese government "to respect the rights of all Chinese citizens who peacefully express their desire for internationally recognized freedom." Nuland also called on China to address government policy in Tibet in areas that have created tensions.

China attempted to shift the blame, stating that "after the incidents the Dalai Lama clique did not condemn this extreme behaviour, and actually openly embellished and played it up, and even asked all kinds of people to follow the example," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin told reporters. "We believe adopting such means that harm monks to pursue separatist aims is masked violent terrorist behavior that violates moral norms and Buddhist doctrine, including Tibetan Buddhist teachings," Liu said.

The Chinese governments' accusation appear unsubstantiated. The Dalai Lama routinely condemns violence and advocates for a peaceful resolution to the Tibet conflict.

In a joint press conference today in Dharamshala, the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile and the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) expressed their solidarity with those that have lost their lives "and with all other Tibetans who are incarcerated for their courage to speak up for the rights of the Tibetan people."

CTA Kalon Tripa (Prime Minister), Dr. Lobsang Sangay, appealed to the United Nations, freedom-loving countries and people around the world to express their support and solidarity with the Tibetan people. "Given the undeclared martial law in Tibet and the increasing cases of self-immolation, the international community must press the government of the People's Republic of China to restore freedom and resolve the issue of Tibet" he urged.

On 7 October the most recent self-immolation occurred when two former monks set themselves alight in Ngaba county in western China. A day of fasting and prayers will be held by exiled Tibetan communities on October 19 as a gesture of solidarity with Tibetans living in Tibet.

 

Fact Sheet on Self-Immolation Incidents in Tibet (source: Central Tibetan Administration)

No.

Name

Monastery

Age

Date of Self-immolation

Current status

1

Phuntsok

Kirti monastery, Ngaba

21

16/3/ 2011

Died on 17/03/2011

2

Tsewang Norbu/Norko

Nyitso monastery, Tawu County

29

15/8/2011

Died on 15/08/2011

3

Lobsang Kelsang

Kirti monastery

18-19

26/9/2011

Unknown

4

Lobsang Kunchok

Kirti monastery

18-19

26/9/2011

Unknown

5

Kelsang Wangchuk

Kirti monastery

17

3/10/2011

Unknown

6

Choephel

former monk of Kirti monastery

19

7/10/2011

Died on 11/10/2011

7

Khaying/Lhungyang

former monk of Kirti monastery

18

7/10/2011

Died on 08/10/2011


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