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Dalai Lama wants an outside inquiry into Tibetan self-immolations

There has been no let-up in the series of self-immolations in Tibet. His Holiness the Dalai Lama has urged an outside inquiry into the spate of self-immolations by Tibetans reported the Central Tibetan Administration on May 10, 2014. There have been more than 130 self-immolations by Tibetans in anti-China demonstrations over the past five years.

The Dalai Lama speaks at the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, DC.
The Dalai Lama speaks at the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, DC.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The Dalai Lama has suggested that in some cases such acts of protest have been understandable and not entirely wrong. It is the feeling of the Dalai Lama that when compassion is the reason driving those who immolate themselves they should be seen differently from those which are motivated by anger. The Tibetan Buddhist monks who have taken their lives by self-immolation have been frustrated with what they see as China’s repressive policies toward Tibet’s culture and religion.

China considers the Dalai Lama a subversive separatist and has accused him and his loyalists who are in exile of being responsible for the self-immolations reports the Tibet Sun. The self-immolations have embarrassed the Chinese authorities in spite of government attempts to stop them. The International Campaign for Tibet has chronicled at least 131 self-immolations ever since February 2009. They have taken place primarily in Tibetan-populated areas of western China which adjoin Tibet.

The Dalai Lama has referred to the self-immolations as a very sensitive issue. It is his feeling the self-immolations are very sad and that such drastic action probably has had little effect on Chinese policy on Tibet. He has said that outsiders should conduct their own fact-finding visit aimed at determining the causes. Chinese officials have described the self-immolations as being a form of terrorism. Meanwhile, the Dalai Lama has said whether the self-immolations are religiously wrong depends entirely on the motivation behind them. The idea of the Dalai Lama for an outside inquiry into the self-immolations is noteworthy.