The Dalai Lama says ‘tremendous desperation’ causing self-immolations, Tells Beijing to look into its causes

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing a press conference upon arrival at the northern Japanese city of Sendai on November 4, 2011.

SENDAI, November 4: “Speaking as an ordinary Tibetan and a Buddhist monk, these incidents of self-immolation are very very sad,” said His Holiness the Dalai Lama today at a press conference in the northern Japanese city of Sendai.

“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”.

Responding to questions on the spate of self-immolations in Tibet that has already seen eleven Tibetans set their bodies on fire since March this year, the Dalai Lama clarified that Dr Lobsang Sangay, the de facto prime minister of Tibet, was the right person to be asked these questions.

“I have completely handed over all my political responsibilities to the elected leadership. Kalon Tripa Lobsang Sangay is in Washington DC right now, so better ask him,” the Dalai Lama said.

Referring to Chinese Premiere Wen Jiabao’s public statements on the need for political reform inside China, His Holiness remarked that time of using force was over.

“Relying on force is counter-productive. Force can never bring unity and stability,” the Dalai Lama said while expressing hope that the Chinese leadership “pays serious attention” to the need for a review of its minority policies. 

The Tibetan spiritual leader, who is currently on a 10-day visit to Japan, arrived this afternoon in Sendai from the temple town of Koyasan, where in a span of four days, he gave Buddhist initiations and interacted with scientists.

Kalon Tripa Dr Lobsang Sangay, who is on his first visit to Washington, D.C., since assuming the office of the chief on the Tibetan exile cabinet, testified before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission.

Blaming China’s “repressive policies” for the fiery episode of self-immolations inside Tibet, Dr Sangay said that China’s hard line policies of “turning many parts of Tibet into a virtual state of martial law” following the popular 2008 uprisings in Tibet has “driven the Tibetan people to a desperate situation”.

“We ask the Chinese government to stop its repressive policies, including suspension of implementation of religious control regulations, review of religious and security policies implemented since 2008 in Ngaba, and a transparent dialogue with the leaders of Tibetan Buddhist schools.”

Demanding access to Ngaba by “journalists, diplomats and United Nations officials,” Kalon Tripa Dr Sangay urged the “Chinese government to resume its dialogue with the representatives of the Dalai Lama.”

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