09/25/2012, 00.00
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A Tibetan summit to find ways out of tunnel of self-immolations

The government-in-exile in Dharamsala convened 400 delegates from all over the world to prepare a new policy that will block the wave of suicides across the region. The prime minister in exile: "We need to ensure that the suffering of our compatriots does not go to waste."

Dharamsala (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The exiled Tibetan community has decided to meet in plenary session for the first time in four years, to reflect on the self-immolations that are taking place in Tibet and propose a new policy that could stop this series of suicides. Over 400 Tibetans from all over the world - elected delegates in the various communities of the Diaspora - will meet on September 27 in Dharamsala, the seat of government of the Dalai Lama since his escape from Lhasa, for four days of discussion and debate.

The prime minister-in-exile, Lobsang Sangay, explains: "We called this meeting because of the self-immolations. We are urging delegates to find a common solution that can somehow respond to the despair of our people still at home. All Tibetans, around the world, realize that these acts are a result of the Chinese government repression, but we must make sure that the suffering expressed by our compatriots does not go to waste. "

According to the Tibetan government in exile, in the last three years there have been 51 self-immolations: monks, nuns and lay persons living in Tibet have chosen to set themselves on fire in public places to demand the return of the Dalai Lama, the end of Communist repression and full religious freedom. Of these, 41 died as a result of burns.

Instead of adopting a conciliatory policy, the Communist Party in Tibet has increased the level of repression in the region. The monasteries of the area are under armored surveillance, special classes in the Tibetan language are prohibited, the practice of religion is in fact prevented. The Party has even outlawed self-immolation "on pain of a prison sentence of five years."

The issue is complex and delicate. On the one hand there is the position of those who live in the region, one of the most affected by violence and authoritarianism of the communist regime, the other is the Buddhist doctrine that preaches the full respect for all forms of life even one's own. The Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of the community, has repeatedly said he "understands" the motives behind this sacrifice, but has called on his followers "not to waste" their lives.


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