China must review Tibet policy to stop self-immolations , Dalai Lama

SENDAI, Japan: The Dalai Lama on Friday called on the Chinese leadership to review its 60 years of Tibet policy, saying using force is counterproductive and will not bring peace and stability.

He was responding to media queries on the recent spate of self-immolations in Tibet during a press conference in Sendai in Japan.

“Since March this year, I have handed over my complete political authority to the elected Tibetan leadership. The political head of the Tibetan people is on a visit to Washington. So it is better to ask him question on self-immolation issue,” The Tibetan spiritual leader said .

“But speaking as a ordinary Tibetan, these incidents are very very sad. The leadership in Beijing should look into the ultimate cause of these tragic incidents. These Tibetans have faced tremendous desperate situation, otherwise nobody will commit such drastic acts.”

He said,”In 2009, one senior party leader in Guangdong said the Central authority should review the policy on minority nationalities. This approach is right, scientific and realistic. The time has come to review their last 60 years of policy on Tibet.

“Prime minister Wen Jiabao said publicly that China needs political reform and western style of democracy. The Chinese leadership should seriously think about it. The time of using force is gone and outdated. Relying on force is counterproductive and it will never bring unity and stability,” he added.

An Italian reporter asked why the international media is not highlighting these incidents as they did to similar acts by Vietnamese monks. The Dalai Lama said: “There must be many factors. But there have been quite of lot of coverage on self-immolations in Tibet. The crisis in Tibet has received strong sympathy and support from different parts of the world, including the Chinese people.”

He further said: “In 1970s and 80s, the human rights violations in the Soviet Union received lots of publicity from the west. But not less attention is being paid when serious human rights violations are taking place in Asia. There should be no basis of discrimination on the human rights issue.”

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