Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama presents a khatak (Tibetan scarf) to Shinzo Abe, Japan's former PM and leader of the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party in Tokyo on November 13, 2012. (Photo/AP/Itsuo Inouye)
DHARAMSHALA, November 14: In one of the strongest statements yet on the spate of self-immolation in Tibet by a political leader, senior Japanese leader Shinzo Abe promised to “do everything to change the situation in Tibet.”
Abe, former prime minister of Japan and currently head of the main opposition party was speaking to reporters Tuesday after meeting with Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Tokyo.
“I swear I will do everything in my power to change the situation in Tibet where human rights are being suppressed,” Abe has been quoted as saying by reporters.
“Tibet seeks freedom and democracy and we agree on those values.”
China has responded by filing a diplomatic protest with Tokyo saying, “Japanese rightwing forces have openly supported Dalai’s separatist activities … We express severe criticism to this.”
The Dalai Lama, who is on a 12-day visit to Japan, earlier told reporters that the Chinese government should carry out a thorough probe into the real causes of self-immolations by Tibetans.
“The self-immolations are very sad, but the Chinese government is not investigating the real causes of the self-immolations. They are taking the easy way out by simply blaming us for all the problems in Tibet,” the Tibetan spiritual leader said while responding to questions from the media.
“The Tibetan issue is related to the history of the last 2,000 years especially the last 60 years. Generations have changed in Tibet but the resentment towards the Chinese government is still continuing, therefore the Chinese government should study the real causes of the resentments through a holistic and realistic way.”
The ongoing wave of self-immolations in Tibet that began in 2009 has seen an alarming escalation with as many as 20 known cases in the months of October and November alone.
On November 9, Canadian Member of Parliament Peggy Nash released a statement of solidarity with the Tibetan self-immolations saying that the Tibetan people’s voices must be heard.
“Canada has a moral responsibility to take immediate action to end the suffering in Tibet. Now more than ever, the Government of Canada must reach out to the Chinese government and urge a peaceful and quick resolution to the current situation,” Nash said. “It would be unconscionable to do nothing.”
Till date, 72 Tibetans inside Tibet have set themselves on fire in protest against China’s occupation, demanding freedom and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Earlier this month, the Central Tibetan administration made an open appeal to the United Nations Human Rights Council to convene a Special Session on Tibet in light of the deteriorating human rights situation inside Tibet.
The CTA appealed to the 47-member states of the UNHRC to convene a special session on Tibet in view of the “desperate and unprecedented spate of self-immolations by Tibetans due to China’s repressive policies and the continued intransigence of the Chinese leadership to the relentless efforts of UNHRC.”