China blames Dalai Lama for self-immolations

Beijing : A Chinese official Friday held the Dalai Lama responsible for a string of self-immolations by Tibetan monks, saying the Tibetan spiritual leader applauded them.

Zhao Qizheng, spokesman for the annual session of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), said this here.

Zhao alleged that in some cases, “there were people who forecast the time and places” where self-immolations would take place, Xinhua reported.

“Some people brought video cameras to film the incidents, and some even tried to prevent the rescue efforts,” Zhao told reporters.

“According to what I have heard, he (Dalai Lama) publicly applauded the courage of these people who set fire to themselves.”

A string of self-immolations broke out in Tibetan areas in Sichuan and Qinghai provinces bordering Tibet in recent months.

And at least two mob attacks on police offices were reported in Sichuan’s volatile Tibetan areas in January, leaving at least two people dead.

Zhao said that committing suicide, which is a disrespect for life, was not a wise thing to do. He asked people not to take “extreme actions” to express their attitudes.

“It is important to avoid being misled,” Zhao said. “If you lose your life because of extreme actions, it will be too late to regret it.”

Xinhua said the Tibetan region had taken steps to improve the living conditions and environment for local monks to practice Buddhism.

Efforts have also been made to provide roads, water, electricity and cultural services for them, it said.

The Dalai Lama, who China dubs “splittist”, has lived in India since fleeing his homeland following a failed uprising in 1959. His government-in-exile, based in Dharamsala, is not recognised by any country.

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