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sikyong-2012-1Torino, 26 October: Today two Tibetans self-immolated in Tibet. It is the 5th incident in less than 7 days. The total number of Tibetans who have self-immolated since February 2009 is now 60.

"Stop the repression and self-immolation would stop," said Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay during his address to the Regional Council of Piemonte, Torino, Italy.

There is no space for protest in Tibet, thus the Tibetans are resorting to self-immolation. In late June, a 17-year-old girl named Jigme Dolma protested in Kardze region of eastern Tibet. The Chinese security forces beat her and two months later, she was sentenced to three years imprisonment.

"Political repression, economic marginalisation, environmental destruction and cultural assimilation in Tibet by the Chinese government are leading to self-immolations by the Tibetans," Dr. Sangay said.

The Tibetan political leader thanked the members of the Regional Council of Piemonte for their support. "I urge you to call on the Chinese government to solve the Tibetan issue peacefully," he said.

In honour of Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay's visit to the Regional Council of Piemonte, the Tibetan national anthem was sung before Dr. Sangay's address to the Council members and guest.

The visit coincided with the 10th anniversary since the Association for Tibet and human rights in the Regional Council of Piemonte was established. It was previously called the Association of Municipalities, Provinces and Regions for Tibet.

Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay met Mr Valerio Cattaneo, the President of the Regional Council of Piemonte at his office and Mr Giampiero Leo, the President of the Association for Tibet and human rights.

Mr Giampiero Leo and Dr Sangay jointly addressed a press conference. Both local and national media covered the Tibetan political leader's visit to Torino.

In the evening a public talk by Dr Sangay was held at the Natural Science Museum in Torino. The region's lawyers association hosted the public talk.

"During His Holiness the Dalai Lama's visit to Torino in 2007," Dr Sangay said, "you all were able to see and hear His Holiness speak. Similarly, the Tibetans in Tibet are demanding His Holiness the Dalai Lama's return so that they can see and hear him."

Unfortunately, the response from the Chinese authorities is repression, he added.

"In Tibet today, there are more Chinese than Tibetans, more troops than Tibetan monks and more surveillance cameras than windows, more guns than Tibetan butter lamps," Dr Sangay said.

The Tibetan political leader said that the Middle Way approach policy is seeking genuine autonomy and not seeking separation from China.

Tomorrow Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay leaves for India.

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