For the two separate incidents of self immolations by Tibetan youths that took place last week, a local Chinese media held the spiritual leader Dalai Lama responsible and claimed that they were “instigated” by him.
While a 16-year-old Tibetan student Dorjee Tsering protesting against Chinese rule in Tibetset himself ablaze in Dehradun, another 18-year-old young Tibetan monk Kalsang Wangdualso immolated himself and died in Sichuan province.
The twin immolations also coincided with the commencement of China’s annual parliament season that kicked off last week.
“Over 100 self-immolation attempts by Tibetans in China since then, most of which killed young monks, were proved to have been masterminded and instigated by the so-called ‘spiritual leader’ and his followers. Their stereotype is to incite self-immolations, make an issue of them and solicit international support through media and political figures,” anarticle in state-run Global Times said.
The article states that soon after the incident Tibetan separatist groups spread the news so as to reach the Western media. It said, “It is common to see self-immolation cases hyped in March as part of the agenda by Tibetan separatists.”
“Self-immolation is only conducted by a slim number of extremists who are used by separatists. Any attempt to split the country is not only doomed to fail, it is also not the desire of the majority of Tibetan people,” the article said marking the first time official media reported such incidents.
“Facts have revealed that the Dalai Lama, misperceived as a peace-loving monk in the West, planned the Lhasa riot on March 14, 2008 that killed 18 innocent people,” Global Times articles said referring to revolts by Tibetan monks.
Overseas Tibetan groups say nearly 130 Tibetans committed self-immolations in recent years calling for the return of the Dalai Lama and to protest against Chinese rule in Tibet.
The National People’s Congress (NPC) and advisory body, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) meet annually for a fortnight to clear legislative business.
“One day after Tsering set himself on fire, pictures featuring Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential candidate, holding up a black-and-white photo of Tsering and speaking with the president of the Tibetan National Congress, an advocacy group, were spread on Twitter,” the Global Times article said.
“Encouraging suicide is by no means part of Tibetan Buddhism. If the Dalai Lama is a true religious dignitary, he shouldn’t have meddled in politics. Regrettably, the fact is that he has never shied away from politics,” it said.
The article also denounced the Dalai Lama’s “Middle Way” approach to provide autonomy to Tibet.
“The ‘middle way’ approach that the Dalai Lama group trumpets in fact aims at setting up a ‘state within a state’ which denies the governance of the central government over Tibet. However, the past 60-plus years have witnessed the Tibetan people living an increasingly abundant life on the road they chose,” it said.
“The region, under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, has become prosperous and enjoyed ethnic unity after the toppling of the feudal serfdom under theocratic rule,” the article said.
It also referred to the Tibetan delegates at the NPC wearing Chinese flags and the busts of five Chinese leaders from Mao Zedong to Xi Jinping, which they said is a spontaneous act to show gratitude to the leadership.
Kalsang Zhoigar, one of the delegates, told reporters that Tibet lifted 1,00,000 people out of poverty in 2015, and that the Tibetan people have benefited most from the country’s poverty alleviation funds.