Tibetan exile PM says must support immolations of Buddhist monks and nuns, laymen
Tibet’s prime minister-in-exile said on Thursday he was not encouraging Tibetans to burn themselves to death in protest at Chinese repression but it was his sacred duty to show support for the men and women who have chosen such drastic steps. A wave of self-immolations has seen at least 11 people, mainly Buddhist monks and nuns, set themselves ablaze in predominantly Tibetan areas of China since March, following a crackdown at monasteries.
Lobsang Sangay, the Harvard educated lawyer who this year replaced the Dalai Lama as the political leader of the exiled Tibetans, said an increased Chinese military presence around monasteries was “undeclared martial law.”
“Once a protest takes place it becomes our sacred duty to show solidarity and support, support for the voice that they raise, so the life that they sacrifice or the torture that they endure do not go in vain,” Sangay told Reuters. “My duty as a political leader is echo or if possible magnify these voices, with sadness and pain obviously,” he said at his offices in the Himalayan town of Dharamsala in India.
He did not repeat an appeal by one of the most senior exiled monks, the Karmapa Lama, who on Wednesday urged Tibetans in China not to set themselves on fire.
“We want Tibetan people to live, we want Tibetan people to lead, definitely. But … the motivation is for Tibet and for Tibetan people and their intention is also very clear, not to harm anyone,” he said.
For more on the immolations, see: