11/07/2011, 00.00
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Self-immolations caused by Tibetan “cultural genocide”, Dalai Lama says

The Dalai Lama delivers stinging attack against China for the rash of desperate suicides by Tibetan religious. In China itself, 10,000 Tibetans challenge police and commemorate nun who died last week after setting herself on fire.
Tokyo (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The desperate conditions the Tibetan people faces under Beijing's harsh controls amounts to "cultural genocide" and are the cause of the spate of self-immolations by Tibetan religious, Tibet's exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama said on Monday at a news conference in Tokyo.

At least 11 Tibetans have set themselves ablaze this year in a heavily Tibetan part of China's Sichuan province that has become a focus of defiance against Beijing rule.

China’s crackdown has increased since protests in 2008 and now includes direct military control of monastery and indoctrination and arrest of monks as well as their deportation to “unknown” places.

“Some kind of culture genocide is taking place," the Dalai Lama said after receiving accounts from local or outside witnesses. "That's why, you see, these sorts of sad incidents happen, due to the desperateness of the situation," he explained.

In the latest incident, a 35-year-old Tibetan nun burnt herself to death last week in Ganzi Prefecture, Sichuan.

New York-based ‘Students for a Free Tibet’ reported that around 10,000 Tibetans from the region gathered around the Tawu Nyitso Monastery on Sunday to pay their respect to the nun.

A statement by the group said that the streets are filled with security personnel.

Chinese authorities have accused the Dalai Lama of being a separatist terrorist and the instigator of the spate of suicides.

The spiritual leader, who is in exile since 1959, has persistently said that all he demands for Tibet is greater autonomy to preserve its culture and traditions. “We [are] totally committed [to the] non-violence principle,” he insisted.

On several occasions, he has urged men and women religious to avoid extreme acts but that he could not condemn someone for acting out of desperation.

Last month, he led hundreds of monks and faithful in a ceremony in India to commemorate those who died through self-immolation.
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