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Central Tibetan Administration Kalon Tripa, Dr. Lobsang SangayDharamshala: On Tuesday, the Chinese government lashed out at the "Dalai Lama clique" following a wave of self-immolation in the tightly controlled province of Ngaba county, western China.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said supporters of the Dalai Lama not only failed to condemn the incidents, but publicised them to inspire further such acts. "They publicly played it up, spread rumours and incited more people to follow suit," Liu told reporters at a daily news briefing.

The Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) Kalon Tripa (Prime Minister), Lobsang Sangay, responded today accusing the Chinese Foreign Ministry of trying to divert the issue. "The root cause is the Chinese occupation of Tibet" Sangay told reporters gathered in Dharamshala. It is just more "spin from the Chinese ministry" he said.

In a joint press statement to discuss the increasing cases of self-immolation in Tibet, the CTA and the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile cited political repression, cultural assimilation and economic marginalisation as among the factors driving Tibetans to take such "drastic acts." They blamed China's intolerable "occupation and repression of Tibet" for the increasing cases of self-immolation.

On Tuesday, the United States also expressed concern over the increases of self-immolation in Tibet. State Department spokesperson, Victoria Nuland, urged the "Chinese Government to respect the rights of all Chinese citizens who peacefully express their desire for internationally recognized freedoms ... and to address policy in Tibet in areas that have created tensions."

Repression in Chinese-controlled Tibet has increased following the outbreak of riots in 2008. Since March this year, seven young Tibetans have self-immolated. Friday saw the latest of these when two former monks aged 18 and 19 set themselves on fire in Ngaba county.

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