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China attacks ‘Dalai clique’ over self-immolations

AP 11 October 2011

BEIJING (AP) — China on Tuesday accused overseas followers of the Dalai Lama of inciting a string of self-immolations among Tibetans.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said members of the “Dalai clique” not only failed to condemn the incidents, but publicized them to inspire further such acts.

“They publicly played it up, spread rumors and incited more people to follow suit,” Liu told reporters at a daily news briefing.

Liu said the self-immolations were part of a plan to violently overthrow Chinese rule in Tibet.

“That runs against human culture and morality but also Buddhist doctrine,” he said.

Five Tibetan men have set themselves on fire in the past two weeks in Aba, a traditionally Tibetan region of western China.

While few details are known, the self-immolations are seen as a protest against Communist restrictions on Tibetan Buddhism and Beijing’s hostility toward the exiled Dalai Lama.

Aba has been the scene of numerous protests in past years against the Chinese government. Most are led by monks who are fiercely loyal to the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s Buddhist leader who fled the Himalayan region in 1959 amid an abortive uprising against Chinese rule and is reviled by Beijing.

The Dalai Lama has routinely condemned violence and advocates a peaceful campaign for greater autonomy for Tibetans in China while remaining under Beijing’s rule.

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