Dalai Lama on Self-Immolations: China Must Move Beyond Blame Game

Posted November 12th, 2012 at 10:10 am (UTC-5)
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The Dalai Lama is speaking out about the growing number of Tibetans setting themselves on fire to protest Chinese rule.

The Tibetan spiritual leader said Monday China needs to conduct a “serious investigation” into the self-immolations rather than just place the blame on him.

The comments were first reported by Japan's Kyodo News Agency.

At least 70 Tibetans have set themselves on fire in protest since February of 2009, including seven just last week. Fifty-four have died.

Last week in Beijing, the Chinese-appointed vice governor of Tibet blamed the Dalai Lama for the most recent protests.

Lobsang Gyaincain said “external Tibetan forces and the Dalai (Dalai Lama) clique are sacrificing other people's lives to attain their secret political motives.”

Anger over Chinese rule in Tibet sparked new protests Monday in New Delhi.

Exiled Tibetans, with their faces painted in the red and yellow colors of the Tibetan flag, charged the Chinese embassy.

Several protesters were detained.

The self-immolations and new protests — including several last Friday in Tibetan areas of China — coincide with China's 18th Party Congress in Beijing and the country's once-in-a-decade leadership transition.

China has long accused Tibetan exiles of self-immolating as part of a separatist struggle, denouncing them as terrorists.

VOA's Tibetan service reported last month the offer of cash rewards in China's Gannan prefecture, called Kanlho prefecture by Tibetans. Posters promised $8,000 to anyone who provides information “on the people who plan, incite to carry out, control and lure people to commit self-immolation.”