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Dalai Lama says he must remain neutral on self-immolations

Tibetan spiritual leader says he does not wish to upset families of the dead or offer political opportunity to China
The Dalai Lama has said he cannot be negative about the spate of self-immolations by Tibetans in China because it would hurt their families.
The exiled spiritual leader said it was best for him to remain neutral on a “very, very delicate political issue”.
Around 40 Tibetans, many of them monks or former members of the clergy, have set themselves on fire over the last year and a half, triggering a security clampdown.
"Now, the reality is that if I say something positive, then the Chinese immediately blame me," he told The Hindu newspaper.
"If I say something negative, then the family members of those people feel very sad. They sacrificed their … life. It is not easy. So I do not want to create some kind of impression that this is wrong."
China has accused the Dalai Lama of inciting the self-immolations, whilehe has blamed Chinese policies.
Although he has expressed deep sorrow at the deaths and injuries of those involved, he has stopped short of asking Tibetans not to set fire to themselves – as another senior Buddhist figure, the Karmapa, did last year.
The Karmapa, who some see as a potential successor to the Dalai Lama as Tibetan spiritual leader, praised the “pure motivation” and bravery of those involved, but added: “I request the people of Tibet to preserve their lives and find other, constructive ways to work for the cause of Tibet.”
Tsering Woeser, an outspoken Tibetan poet and writer who lives in Beijing, has also called for an end to self-immolations, saying it does not help the cause of Tibetan rights.
Pictured: The Dalai Lama at the inauguration of a hospital near Dharamsala, India, this month. Photograph: Ashwini Bhatia/AP

Dalai Lama says he must remain neutral on self-immolations

Tibetan spiritual leader says he does not wish to upset families of the dead or offer political opportunity to China

The Dalai Lama has said he cannot be negative about the spate of self-immolations by Tibetans in China because it would hurt their families.

The exiled spiritual leader said it was best for him to remain neutral on a “very, very delicate political issue”.

Around 40 Tibetans, many of them monks or former members of the clergy, have set themselves on fire over the last year and a half, triggering a security clampdown.

"Now, the reality is that if I say something positive, then the Chinese immediately blame me," he told The Hindu newspaper.

"If I say something negative, then the family members of those people feel very sad. They sacrificed their … life. It is not easy. So I do not want to create some kind of impression that this is wrong."

China has accused the Dalai Lama of inciting the self-immolations, whilehe has blamed Chinese policies.

Although he has expressed deep sorrow at the deaths and injuries of those involved, he has stopped short of asking Tibetans not to set fire to themselves – as another senior Buddhist figure, the Karmapa, did last year.

The Karmapa, who some see as a potential successor to the Dalai Lama as Tibetan spiritual leader, praised the “pure motivation” and bravery of those involved, but added: “I request the people of Tibet to preserve their lives and find other, constructive ways to work for the cause of Tibet.”

Tsering Woeser, an outspoken Tibetan poet and writer who lives in Beijing, has also called for an end to self-immolations, saying it does not help the cause of Tibetan rights.

Pictured: The Dalai Lama at the inauguration of a hospital near Dharamsala, India, this month. Photograph: Ashwini Bhatia/AP

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nationalpost:

Peter Goodspeed: Dying as a political act: Centuries-old Buddhist tradition of self-immolation continues in China

“This was not the random act of a disturbed individual, but rather a single manifestation of a deeply rooted set of ideas and ideals in Chinese Buddhism that blossomed again and again in the history of pre-modern China.”

Photo: Tibetan exile Janphel Yeshi, 27, runs as he is engulfed in flames after he set himself on fire to protest an upcoming visit to India by Chinese President Hu Jintao, March 26, 2012, in New Delhi. Yeshi suffered life-threatening burns. (AFP/Getty Images)

Filed under tibet china asia immolations protests

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Tibetans Turn to Setting Themselves on Fire to Protest China’s Rule
Fed up with the Chinese government’s tactics aimed at stemming unrest, some Tibetans have turned to a gruesome show of public protest — burning themselves.
The latest incidents occurred over the last three days when a Tibetan teenage boy, a teenage girl and a 32-year-old widow and mother died after they lit themselves on fire in public places. During the past year, at least 25 people have committed this act, which the Dalai Lama has said only worsens the situation with China.
We asked about the latest developments with correspondent Kathleen McLaughlin, who is based in Beijing and who recently returned from a reporting trip to Qinghai province on the northern side of the Tibetan plateau to file a series of reports for GlobalPost.
"Even in Qinghai province, where China is known to use a softer hand on dealing with Tibetans, the atmosphere was tense,"McLaughlin said. "All of the monks I met knew about the self-immolations in Sichuan and said they were impressed and awed by those who have taken up that form of protest."
Outside of Qinghai, tensions were worse, she said, with several monks telling her they feared arrest if they were caught talking to a foreign journalist.
Tibetans and activist groups say China ramped up its military and security controls and surveillance in the autonomous region after massive protests in 2008 in Lhasa, the administrative capital of Tibet. In March of that year, street protests by mostly monks later unraveled into riots and looting.
"It appears the protests and self-immolations are in direct response to these controls, and the situation is not getting better," McLaughlin said.
Pictured: Pro-Tibetan demonstrators march in front of a hotel in Los Angeles on Feb. 16 during a visit by Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping. Photo by Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images.

Tibetans Turn to Setting Themselves on Fire to Protest China’s Rule

Fed up with the Chinese government’s tactics aimed at stemming unrest, some Tibetans have turned to a gruesome show of public protest — burning themselves.

The latest incidents occurred over the last three days when a Tibetan teenage boy, a teenage girl and a 32-year-old widow and mother died after they lit themselves on fire in public places. During the past year, at least 25 people have committed this act, which the Dalai Lama has said only worsens the situation with China.

We asked about the latest developments with correspondent Kathleen McLaughlin, who is based in Beijing and who recently returned from a reporting trip to Qinghai province on the northern side of the Tibetan plateau to file a series of reports for GlobalPost.

"Even in Qinghai province, where China is known to use a softer hand on dealing with Tibetans, the atmosphere was tense,"McLaughlin said. "All of the monks I met knew about the self-immolations in Sichuan and said they were impressed and awed by those who have taken up that form of protest."

Outside of Qinghai, tensions were worse, she said, with several monks telling her they feared arrest if they were caught talking to a foreign journalist.

Tibetans and activist groups say China ramped up its military and security controls and surveillance in the autonomous region after massive protests in 2008 in Lhasa, the administrative capital of Tibet. In March of that year, street protests by mostly monks later unraveled into riots and looting.

"It appears the protests and self-immolations are in direct response to these controls, and the situation is not getting better," McLaughlin said.

Pictured: Pro-Tibetan demonstrators march in front of a hotel in Los Angeles on Feb. 16 during a visit by Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping. Photo by Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images.

Filed under china tibet asia protests

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China detains hundreds of Tibetans for ‘re-education’, says human rights group
Tibetans were returning from India after attending teaching sessions with the Dalai Lama, says Human Rights Watch
The Chinese government has detained several hundred Tibetans who were returning from India after attending teaching sessions overseen by the Dalai Lama, and was forcing them to undergo political re-education, a human rights group said.
New York-based Human Rights Watch said it believed it was the first time since the late 1970s authorities had detained Tibetan laypeople in such large numbers, and comes as Beijing frets about unrest in Tibetan parts of the country.
China allowed about 7,000 Tibetans to attend the sessions with exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama in Bihar in India between 31 December and 10 January, in what the HRW said seemed to be a sign of a relaxation of policy towards Tibetans.
"However, that changed against a backdrop of unrest in the eastern Tibetan areas and apparent fears it might spread to [the Tibetan capital] Lhasa," the group said in an statement.
Pictured: Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama speaking in Dharmsala, India. Photograph: Ashwini Bhatia/AP

China detains hundreds of Tibetans for ‘re-education’, says human rights group

Tibetans were returning from India after attending teaching sessions with the Dalai Lama, says Human Rights Watch

The Chinese government has detained several hundred Tibetans who were returning from India after attending teaching sessions overseen by the Dalai Lama, and was forcing them to undergo political re-education, a human rights group said.

New York-based Human Rights Watch said it believed it was the first time since the late 1970s authorities had detained Tibetan laypeople in such large numbers, and comes as Beijing frets about unrest in Tibetan parts of the country.

China allowed about 7,000 Tibetans to attend the sessions with exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama in Bihar in India between 31 December and 10 January, in what the HRW said seemed to be a sign of a relaxation of policy towards Tibetans.

"However, that changed against a backdrop of unrest in the eastern Tibetan areas and apparent fears it might spread to [the Tibetan capital] Lhasa," the group said in an statement.

Pictured: Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama speaking in Dharmsala, India. Photograph: Ashwini Bhatia/AP

Filed under china tibet asia arrests

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Inside Tibet's heart of protest - video

On the streets of Aba, ranks of paramilitary police armed with guns, batons and spiked clubs keep a watchful eye on Buddhist monks in crimson robes. After a 10-hour drive across the Tibetan plateau, Jonathan Watts was able to get into the town undetected and witness how the authorities are trying to extinguish dissent with fire engines, riot police and patriotic ‘re-education’ campaigns

Filed under tibet china asia protests

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Groups: Young nun latest to self-immolate in Tibet
(CNN) — An 18-year-old nun set herself afire Saturday, the latest in a string of self-immolations by Tibetans amid anger and despair over Chinese rule, Tibetan rights groups reported.
The woman, who was calling out slogans of protest, was believed to have survived, said the London-based Free Tibet.
The organization, which says people in the mountainous region should determine their own future, said the act was the 22nd self-immolation there in less than a year.
"We know many more Tibetans are willing to give their lives and Tibetans are protesting in the streets, free from fear, aware that the consequences of doing so could be as grave as being shot and that arrest is likely," Free Tibet director Stephanie Brigden said in a statement.
Pictured: Buddhist people attend a candle vigil of the Tibetan Community in memory of self-immolations in Tibet during the eighth day of the Kalachakra Festival in Bodhgaya, India, on January 8, 2012.

Groups: Young nun latest to self-immolate in Tibet

(CNN) — An 18-year-old nun set herself afire Saturday, the latest in a string of self-immolations by Tibetans amid anger and despair over Chinese rule, Tibetan rights groups reported.

The woman, who was calling out slogans of protest, was believed to have survived, said the London-based Free Tibet.

The organization, which says people in the mountainous region should determine their own future, said the act was the 22nd self-immolation there in less than a year.

"We know many more Tibetans are willing to give their lives and Tibetans are protesting in the streets, free from fear, aware that the consequences of doing so could be as grave as being shot and that arrest is likely," Free Tibet director Stephanie Brigden said in a statement.

Pictured: Buddhist people attend a candle vigil of the Tibetan Community in memory of self-immolations in Tibet during the eighth day of the Kalachakra Festival in Bodhgaya, India, on January 8, 2012.

Filed under china tibet asia protests immolations

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China cut off internet in area of Tibetan unrest
Internet connections and mobile phone signals were cut for 30 miles around scene of clashes in Sichuan, state media reports.
Chinese officials cut off mobile phone and internet connections to areas where Tibetans were shot dead amid unrest last month, state media has reported.
Officials say security forces fired in self-defence after mobs of rioters attacked police and official buildings in the south-western province of Sichuan, resulting in two deaths.
Tibetan exiles and campaign groups say police fired at peaceful protesters and killed at least three people.
It has been impossible to verify accounts of the unrest. Foreign reporters attempting to visit the region have been turned back, with officials blaming bad weather and the state of the roads.
Pictured: Chinese soldiers in Chengdu, Sichuan province. It has been impossible to verify accounts of the unrest in Luhuo. Photograph: Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images

China cut off internet in area of Tibetan unrest

Internet connections and mobile phone signals were cut for 30 miles around scene of clashes in Sichuan, state media reports.

Chinese officials cut off mobile phone and internet connections to areas where Tibetans were shot dead amid unrest last month, state media has reported.

Officials say security forces fired in self-defence after mobs of rioters attacked police and official buildings in the south-western province of Sichuan, resulting in two deaths.

Tibetan exiles and campaign groups say police fired at peaceful protesters and killed at least three people.

It has been impossible to verify accounts of the unrest. Foreign reporters attempting to visit the region have been turned back, with officials blaming bad weather and the state of the roads.

Pictured: Chinese soldiers in Chengdu, Sichuan province. It has been impossible to verify accounts of the unrest in Luhuo. Photograph: Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images

Filed under china tibet asia media access protests

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Tibetan student ‘killed in third Sichuan, China clash’
Chinese security forces have shot and killed a young Tibetan man in Sichuan province, Tibetan campaign groups say.
The death in Aba prefecture would be at least the third such killing this week.
Police and troops opened fire when a crowd gathered to protect another man being sought for distributing leaflets in Aba, the Free Tibet group said.
There has been no official comment from Chinese authorities. Officials have confirmed that two Tibetans were killed in earlier protests in Sichuan.

Tibetan student ‘killed in third Sichuan, China clash’

Chinese security forces have shot and killed a young Tibetan man in Sichuan province, Tibetan campaign groups say.

The death in Aba prefecture would be at least the third such killing this week.

Police and troops opened fire when a crowd gathered to protect another man being sought for distributing leaflets in Aba, the Free Tibet group said.

There has been no official comment from Chinese authorities. Officials have confirmed that two Tibetans were killed in earlier protests in Sichuan.

Filed under china tibet protests asia