Sunday 8 January 2012

China rubs salt on wound, Calls self-immolaters “thieves”

Phayul[Sunday, January 08, 2012 14:25]
DHARAMSHALA, January 8: China’s state news agency Xinhua, while admitting the two instances of self-immolation on January 6 in the Ngaba region of eastern Tibet has accused the two Tibetans of being “thieves.”

Identifying the two as former monks of Kirti monastery, the Xinhua report said that one “died in a hotel room after setting himself on fire while another man aged 22 was being treated in hospital after setting himself ablaze”.

Xinhua further reported that an “investigation” found that the “men had been involved in a number of thefts, including the ‘case of the Kirti monastery Buddha statue burglary.’”

AFP in a report said that the local hospital where one of the self-immolaters is believed to be hospitalised declined to comment while calls to the county government and police “went unanswered”.

The latest in the alarming wave of self-immolations in Tibet comes days after a senior Chinese official said that the self-immolations will never succeed in forcing any policy changes.

"I can honestly say to our friends that even if such a thing happens again, the direction of the Chinese government's policies in Tibet and our attitude toward the Dalai clique's struggle will not change in any way," Zhu Weiqun, China’s point man for Tibet, who has held several rounds of unsuccessful dialogues with the Dalai Lama’s envoys said in comments carried on government website December 30, 2011.

Zhu, a vice minister of the Chinese Communist Party's United Front Work Department, directly blamed the Dalai Lama and the exile Tibetan administration for the recent wave of self-immolations in Tibet which has seen 14 Tibetans set their bodies on fire since March 2011 protesting China’s continued occupation of Tibet and demanding the return of the Dalai Lama from exile.

The Dalai Lama's supporters had "deceived several naive and young people to self-immolate in order to pressure the Chinese government", Zhu said.

There is scarce information on the two Tibetans who self-immolated on January 6 at around 2:40 pm Tibet time in the distraught Ngaba region of eastern Tibet.

Eyewitness accounts say that the two people, a monk and a layman, were together when they set themselves ablaze.

“With folded hands they faced towards Kirti Monastery and raised a number of slogans amongst which the audible ones were- ‘Long live His Holiness the Dalai Lama’ and ‘We want the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet,’” a Tibetan in Bodh Gaya had said quoting eyewitnesses.

Another Tibet with contacts inside the Ngaba Kirti monastery told Phayul that one of the self-immolating Tibetans had wound his body with barbed wire before setting his body on fire in order to avoid being easily grabbed by Chinese security personnel.

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