Dalai Lama Blames Chinese ‘Cultural Genocide’ for Self-Immolations

Posted November 7th, 2011 at 7:45 am (UTC-5)
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The Dalai Lama is blaming hardline Chinese policies, which he describes as “cultural genocide,” for a wave of self-immolations by Tibetan Buddhist monks and nuns.

A 35-year-old nun set herself on fire Thursday in southwestern Sichuan province, bringing to 11 the number of monks and nuns who have turned to self-immolation in recent months to protest Chinese policies.

Speaking Monday in Japan, the Dalai Lama said even Chinese visitors who come to Tibet recognize that things there are terrible. He said some kind of cultural genocide is taking place.

The exiled spiritual leader also said hardline Chinese officials have been sent to govern Tibetan areas over the past 10 to 15 years. He said that accounts for the desperate acts of the monks and nuns.

Most of the self-immolations have been centered around the Kirti monastery in Sichuan, where the first self-immolation took place in March.

The action prompted a harsh Chinese crackdown in which the monks and nuns have been subjected to re-education programs and armed security forces patrol the surrounding streets.

China has accused the Dalai Lama of encouraging the self-immolations, noting that he has failed to condemn the actions as he has done in the past.

The United States said last week that China's policies have created tensions that threaten the unique religious, cultural and linguistic identity of the Tibetan people.