Saturday, November 19, 2011


LONDON — Tibet's exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama has said he is worried about the growing number of monks and nuns setting themselves on fire in southwest China, in an interview broadcast Saturday.

The Dalai Lama told the BBC that those setting themselves alight were courageous, but questioned how effective self-immolation was as a form of protest against Chinese rule.

"The question is how much effect" the self-immolations have, the 76-year-old asked British broadcaster.

"That's the question. There is courage -- very strong courage. But how much effect? Courage alone is no substitute. You must utilise your wisdom."

Eight Buddhist monks and two nuns have set themselves alight in ethnically Tibetan parts of Sichuan province since the self-immolation of a young monk in March at Kirti monastery sparked a government crackdown.

Activists say that at least five monks and two nuns have died and that Chinese police have at times responded by beating the burning protesters and their colleagues rather than providing assistance.

Asked whether the self-immolations could make life worse for people in Tibet, the Dalai Lama said: "Many Tibetans sacrifice their lives.

"Nobody knows how many people killed and tortured -- I mean death through torture. Nobody knows.

"But a lot of people suffer. But how much effect? The Chinese respond harder."

The Dalai Lama, who fled Tibet following a failed uprising against Chinese rule in 1959, founded a government in exile in the northern Indian town of Dharamshala after being offered refuge there.

He remains revered in China's Tibetan areas but is vilified as a "separatist" by China's communist authorities. (AFP)

DHARAMSHALA — Expressing her support and solidarity with the Tibetan people, a prominent Chinese research scholar living in Sydney has strongly criticized the Chinese government's repressive policies on Tibet for the last six decades.

In an article, Dr Chen Hongxin, a research scholar of Chinese contemporary politics, described the recent self-immolations by Tibetans since March as a way of protest against the Chinese government's wrong policy on Tibetans and their religious belief.

“At least six Tibetans have died as a result of self-immolation, and they have called for religious freedom, the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet and freedom in Tibet.”

Dr Chen also wrote about critical questions that people might raise, why “happy and prosperous Tibetans” are ending their lives through self-immolations. Why the Tibetan monks who respect life and practice Buddhism for millenia by renouncing ill-feelings, are now burning themselves to death one after another?

“The answers underlying these questions lies in the truth of past 60 years which will bring tears in the eyes of the international community. In fact, through successive generations, the Tibetans have not only etched their history, but also exposed the Chinese government's propaganda through peaceful protests,” she wrote.

The article contained criticism of China's draconian measures towards the Tibetan monastic community. “Despite reconstruction of Tibetan monasteries in 1980s, the authorities imposed restrictions on the admission of Tibetans into monasteries, made “patriotic education”, which involves denouncing His Holiness the Dalai Lama, a compulsory subject for monks to study.

Dr Chen further wrote about her impression of Mr Xi Jinping's visit to Lhasa this year. “During his visit to Lhasa, the future Chinese president, Xi Jinping, not only did not meet Tibetans, but did not even visit a monastery. On the contrary, he met with officials from the police, army, political and judicial authorities. This act has exposed the Chinese government's intention of brutal and repressive policy on Tibet.” (


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