|"Analysts said the Dalai Lama was seeking to avoid a political vacuum after his death, when Tibetans will have to identify his reincarnated successor." (Reuters)|
The Telegraph, November 7, 2011
"The Dalai Lama has blamed a recent wave of Tibetan self-immolations on a policy of 'cultural genocide' being carried out by the Chinese government. Eight Buddhist monks and two nuns have set themselves alight in ethnically Tibetan parts of China's Sichuan province since the death of a young monk in March sparked a government crackdown. 'Chinese communist propaganda create a very rosy picture. But actually, including many Chinese from mainland China who visit Tibet, they all have the impression things are terrible,' the Dalai Lama said. 'Some kind of policy, some kind of cultural genocide is taking place,' the 76-year-old Tibetan spiritual leader said, in comments that are likely to rile Beijing. '(In the) last 10, 15 years, there were some kind of hardliner Chinese officials. So that's why you see these sad incidents have happened due to this desperate sort of situation.' Activists say that at least five monks and two nuns have died from their injuries and that Chinese police have at times responded by beating the burning protesters and their colleagues rather than providing assistance.
In March 2008, major anti-Chinese unrest erupted in the Tibetan capital Lhasa and spread to neighbouring areas of western China with Tibetan populations. Tibet's exiled government said more than 200 Tibetans were killed in a subsequent clampdown. Beijing said 'rioters' were responsible for 21 deaths. Many Tibetans in China are angry about what they see as growing domination by the country's majority Han ethnic group. In the latest in a number of incidents, Buddhist nun Qiu Xiang last week died after she set herself on fire, calling for religious freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama, rights groups said. China has accused the Dalai Lama, who fled his homeland for India in 1959, of instigating the suicide protests in a form of 'terrorism in disguise.' In the past, he has condemned self-immolations, which many Buddhists believe are contrary to their faith, but has until now kept a low profile over the recent wave of protests. He announced in March that he wanted to shed his role as political chief of the Tibetan government-in-exile but will retain the more influential role of Tibet’s spiritual leader."
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch.]