Jia Qinling, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. (File/Reuters)
DHARAMSHALA, October 20: China’s top advisor has called for greater efforts in fighting the ‘Dalai Lama clique’ to ensure lasting stability in Tibet, even as Tibetans continue to burn themselves calling for the return of the Tibetan spiritual leader.
Jia Qinling, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, China’s top political advisory body told a conference in Beijing, Friday that stability and development should be stressed in Tibetan regions.
State-run Xinhua news agency quoted Jia calling for “greater development in China's ethnic Tibetan regions, as well as more efforts to fight the Dalai Lama clique, in order to ensure the regions' lasting stability.”
In continuing protest against China’s occupation of Tibet, 55 Tibetans have set themselves on fire since 2009, demanding freedom and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile.
The latest Tibetan to set himself on fire was Tamdin Dorjee, 52, who passed away in his fiery protest on October 13 in the Tsoe region of Kanlho, eastern Tibet. He was the grandfather of a prominent Tibetan reincarnate lama in the region.
Tibet's elected leader Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay has maintained that the "blame as well as the solution" for the self-immolation protests lie with the Chinese government.
"We have discouraged drastic actions, including self-immolations, but unfortunately Tibetans seem to be saying this is the only form of protest left, because any other form of protest the consequences is similar - you get arrested, tortured and often die," Dr Sangay told reporters earlier.
Jia, who is also a part of the all-powerful nine-member Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China, said Tibet-related issues are of “paramount importance” for the party.
His comments comes just weeks ahead of the November 8 National Congress of the CPC, which will see the once in a decade change of guards in Beijing.
The exile Tibetan leadership has expressed cautious optimism on questions of a more reconciliatory approach on Tibet from China’s new set of leaders, led by Xi Jinping.
Xinhua quoted Jia as saying that ideological education and identity should be strengthened in Tibetan regions and CPC’s organisational work and community-level political construction should be enhanced to boost development and stability.