His Holiness the Dalai Lama being interviewed by PP James from Doodarshan in Varkala, Kerala, on November 24, 2012. (Photo/OHHDL/Jeremy Russell)
DHARAMSHALA, November 26: Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama has said that the ongoing wave of self-immolations inside Tibet brings tears to his eyes.
The 77-year-old Tibetan leader was speaking to a reporter from the Indian national television channel Doordarshan in south India on Saturday.
“As Deng Xiaoping said, ‘Seek truth from facts’ and act accordingly. What’s happening is very sad; it brings tears to my eyes,” the Dalai Lama said. “People are not doing this because they are drunk or have family problems, but because they live in constant fear.“
81 Tibetans; monks and nuns, young mothers and students, artists and writers, farmers and nomads, have set themselves on fire since 2009 protesting China’s continued occupation of Tibet and demanding freedom and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile.
In the interview, the Tibetan leader noted that he sees the self-immolations as a symptom of problems that Tibetans did not create and reiterated his appeal that the Chinese authorities investigate the real causes of the fiery protests.
Meanwhile, a senior Chinese leader in the troubled region of eastern Tibet has called for a further intensification of the crackdown on Tibetan protesters in a speech in Ngaba.
"Our struggle with the Dalai (Lama) splittist clique is long-term, arduous and complicated. In fighting separatism and upholding stability we can never relax our work in the slightest," AFP quoted Sichuan Communist Party head Wang Dongming as saying.
"We must strengthen and be innovative in accordance with law in our management of the monasteries and unite the people in the common task to fight separatism and maintain stability."
The month of November is witnessing an alarming escalation in the fiery protests with 19 self-immolations already, making this the deadliest month since the protests began. Thousands of Tibetans, including school students, have carried out mass protests and rallies against China’s rule.
Earlier this month, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay urged China to “promptly address the longstanding grievances that have led to an alarming escalation in desperate forms of protest, including self-immolations, in Tibetan areas.”
Pillay said she was disturbed by "continuing allegations of violence against Tibetans seeking to exercise their fundamental human rights," and urged China to allow independent and impartial monitors to visit and assess the actual conditions on the ground, and to lift restrictions on media access to the region, as a confidence-building measure.