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15th-november-2011-dhasaDharamshala, India: - Monday, 14th November, the largest Tibetan organization in exile, 'Tibet Youth Congress' held a press conference at their headquarters in Dharamshala, in order to issue an official statement regarding the self-immolations of 11 Buddhist monks and nuns in Eastern Tibet.

The Sichuan province has been set ablaze with these shocking acts of protest, the last self-immolation being of a 35 year old nun of the Kardze monastery on November 3, becoming the 11th in a series of self-immolations that started in March of this year. The first,was of Lobsang Phuntsok of the Kirti monastery, a 21 year old monk who set himself on fire on 16 March 2011, just six days after the 52nd anniversary of Tibetan National Uprising Day.

"An occupied country's struggle, achievements and resolve to regain ownership lies in the level of responsibility, sacrifice and determination assumed by its citizens", said, Dhundrop Lhadhar, the Vice President of the TYC.

This year, dramatic serial protests have swept over the Serta, Kardze and Chamdo regions of Chinese-oppressed Eastern Tibet.

"While TYC is saddened by the loss of lives, it is also empowered by their courageous acts. They show a determination and desperation to bring international attention to the ongoing oppression suffered by a nation under colonial occupation".

It has been 61 years since the aborted uprising of 1959, which lead the Dalai Lama and his faithful people to flee Tibet and arrive in Dharamshala, which has since served as their place of refuge.
"These extreme actions indicate a renewed grassroots pledge calling for all Tibetans to stand united to collectively end Beijing's draconian rule". They further described the acts of self-immolation as "a painful cry from across the mountains to accelerate efforts to restore Tibet's independence".

In July 2011, the People's Republic of China celebrated 60 years of their "peaceful liberation" of Tibet; the timely protests and acts of resistance mark the watersheds in Tibet's history and expose China's continual lies that they liberated Tibet from serfdom, poverty and misery.

In reference to the self-immolations, Vice President of TYC said, "This new method of resistance proves that Beijing's claims have no historical basis and that Tibetans will never bow to China's occupation. They have the unrelenting courage to continue the struggle to regain their homeland, and their actions primarily express faith and reverence for His Holiness the Dalai Lama and his people's yearning to be with him in Tbet".

Beijing has often labeled His Holiness as the key to the Tibetan problem, claiming that the resistance will only last while he is alive and in power. In the recent past, China has also accused him of encouraging the self-immolations. The issues of the spiritual leader's succession have sparked a lot of controversy. One might speculate that the Chinese are trying to claim veto over the religious office of Dalai Lama in order to gain complete control over the Tibetan people, socially and spiritually.

According to the TYC, Tibetans need no "instigation" (from the Dalai Lama) to protest; they are masters of their fate and regardless of any change in the exile leadership, their determination to regain ownership of their motherland will not wane.

In their statement, they call the self-immolations "a defiant rejection of half a century of Chinese propaganda, a victory of the human spirit against tyrannical oppression".

The Dalai Lama has repeatedly issued pleas to his people not to resort to the act of self-immolation. Only recently, the Karmapa Lama echoed His Holiness' sentiments by urging Tibetans to preserve their lives, maintaining that although he did not endorse it, it was his sacred duty to honour and support those that sacrificed their lives for their country.

"When we think of those Tibetans who set themselves ablaze, and imagine their bodies being consumed by flames, we feel their suffering and a chill penetrates our souls, said Lhadhar. "But simultaneously, a surge of optimism and pride arises when we think of their unimaginable courage".

Many of the Tibetans monks and nuns who self-immolated shouted such slogans as "Long Live his Holiness the Dalai Lama" before being engulfed by the pyres of patriotism. The TYC believes that through their daring and sacrificial actions, they are conveying their dying desire to return His Holiness to Tibet and end the Chinese occupation.

In order to honour their sacrifice, the TYC will launch a campaign that refrains them from celebrating Tibetan Losar (The Tibetan New Year) in 2012, and instead initiate a special fund for future Free Tibet initiatives.

"This is not only about a fund but demonstrating every individual Tibetans' responsibility and commitment to a future Tibet, said TYC's representatives. "Tibetans worldwide, through our regional chapters, will be asked to contribute all the expenses usually incurred in celebrating Losar to this fund".

The TYC has called on all Tibetans outside occupied Tibet to support and participate in this initiative. All proceeds will be handed over to the Tibetan Government-in-Exile.

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