The 11th Kirti Rinpoche speaking at the European Parliament on March 7, 2013.
DHARAMSHALA, March 8: Kyabje Kirti Rinpoche, the exiled abbot of the Kirti Monasteries in Tibet and India called on the European Parliament to take concrete steps to help Tibetans inside Tibet.
The 11th Kirti Rinpoche was speaking before the EP's human rights subcommittee on March 7.
The former minister of the exile Tibetan administration based in India further called for an EP resolution demanding the release of jailed Tibetan activists, full access to Tibet for foreign media and international community, and freedom for Tibet with withdrawal of Chinese forces.
"Tibet was an independent nation till 1959 and that cannot be distorted," he said.
Kirti Rinpoche, who is currently on a six-nation lobbying tour of Europe spoke in detail about the plight of the Tibetan people and the treatment of those protesting through self-immolation.
He said Tibetans who self immolate are seen by the Chinese authorities as terrorists and their families suffer persecution.
The Ngaba region in eastern Tibet where the Kirti Monastery is located has been at the centre of the self-immolation protests.
Since 2009, as many as 107 Tibetans living under China’s rule have set themselves on fire protesting China’s occupation and demanding freedom and the return of the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.
Chinese authorities have responded to the self-immolations with even harder measures – criminalising the burnings and handing down heavy prison sentences to those accused of instigating the protests. Many western countries and human rights groups have blamed China for exacerbating the situation in Tibet.
Elsewhere in Beijing, Chinese officials representing Ngaba, indicated that the tight security clampdown on the Kirti Monastery and the surrounding regions will not be relaxed.
Wu Zegang, the governor of ‘Aba prefecture’ was speaking to reporters Thursday on the sidelines of the annual legislative session.
He accused the local Kirti monastery of collaborating with exiled Tibetans to organise the protests without providing any concrete evidence to substantiate his claim.
Another provincial official, Zhang Dongsheng, said "foreign forces" were using the self-immolations as a way to attack the ruling Communist Party.
He announced that government officials in eastern Tibet will not ease their grip over the region's monasteries and people.
"Our struggle against the Dalai Lama is long-term and intense," Zhang said. "We cannot relax at any moment.