DHARAMSHALA, January 7: Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama has renewed calls for a “thorough investigation” into the causes behind the spate of self-immolations inside Tibet.
The Dalai Lama was speaking to NDTV
, a major Indian news channel, on its Sunday night talk show ‘Your Call.’
“Last year, when this (self-immolation) first happened, I was in Japan and I said that the time has come the Chinese government must carry thorough investigation and find the cause of these sad events,” the Tibetan spiritual leader said. “These events are symptom of some cause.”
He noted that two to three generations of Tibetans inside Tibet have “really suffered a lot” under China’s rule.
Since 2009, as many as 95 Tibetans have set themselves on fire protesting China’s occupation and demanding freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama from exile. Thousands of Tibetans have carried out mass protests even as Chinese authorities have increased their repressive policies and tightened the noose around self-immolations.
Responding to a question on whether he would appeal for the self-immolations to stop, the Dalai Lama said the exile Tibetan administration has never encouraged the protests.
“This question is politically sensitive. (Tibetan) political leaders have expressed right from the beginning, very clearly, that we never encourage such acts, but at the same time if we have something to offer them (self-immolators), then I can say, ‘You should not do this,’” the 77-year-old Tibetan leader said.
“So, in order to say something I must have something to offer them, but I have nothing. I feel very sorry, I say prayers. Apart from that, I can’t do anything.”
The Dalai Lama further added that the Chinese government’s tactics of blaming him for the protests will not solve the problem and urged Chinese leaders to “think more seriously” about the crisis in Tibet.
When asked about his optimism on China’s new leader Xi Jinping, the Tibetan spiritual leader said it is “too early to say” and noted that the new leaders have to follow a more realistic approach for their own interest.
“Using force is outdated. More violence, more suppression, more resentment, that's illogical,” the Dalai Lama said. “Therefore, I'm quite sure the new leadership will seek truth from facts and sooner or later follow a more realistic approach.”
Responding to a question on the possibility of seeing an independent Tibetan nation, the Dalai Lama said that although historically Tibet was an independent nation, it is more important to think ahead and look at the future.
“Yes, we were a separate nation but we should not necessarily just insist on that,” the Nobel peace laureate said. “Let us try to build a new kind of genuine union. If that fails then it's something different.”
His Holiness pointed out that the exile Tibetan administration’s policy of middle-way approach, which seeks autonomy for Tibet, has so far won a lot of support from the Chinese people.
“Emotionally, many young people say, "Oh we want independence" (but) they have never shown us how to achieve independence step by step,” the Dalai Lama said. “How much support from the Chinese people? How much support from the Indian government? How much support from the European Union? How much support from the United States? Thinking realistically is important.”