【 The Washington Post 】   Post Date: 9/29/2012
Exiled Tibetan leadership calls for end to self-immolations; seek world's support
Author: AP Report
The leaders urged their ethnic brethren to stop the practice, which is done in protest to China's harsh rule of the Tibetan homeland.  They pledged to instead seek greater support from the world community over China's persecution of their people and culture.
DHARMSALA, India — Tibetan exiles from around the world urged their ethnic brethren in Tibet to stop giving up their lives in self-immolation protests, and decided Friday to boost efforts to gain global support for their struggle against China’s rule over their homeland.
 
More than 400 delegates attended a gathering of Tibetans in the Indian hill town of Dharmsala, which has been the headquarters of their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, since he fled Tibet in 1950s. The four-day meeting ended Friday.
 
Since March 2009, more than 40 Tibetans have died in self-immolations to protest China’s rule over Tibet.
 
Penpa Tsering, speaker of the Tibetan exile parliament, said Tibetans should not give up their lives, and instead work toward solving the Tibetan issue with China.
 
“We Tibetans have a small population and each life is precious,” he told reporters at the end of the meeting.
 
The self-proclaimed Tibetan government-in-exile says 41 Tibetans have died from 51 attempts at self-immolation since March 2009. It considers them a sign of the suffering Tibetans feel under China’s repressive policies. China claims the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, encourages the suicide attempts.
 
Last month, Prime Minister Lobsang Sangay, the political leader of Tibetan exiles, said the incidents were against the movement’s commitment to nonviolence but that it was his duty to highlight why the protesters were dying.
 
On Friday, he said Tibetans should work more effectively to lobby for international support for their cause. He also said the efforts would focus on getting more support in India because of its strategic location and its stake in the region’s geopolitics.
 
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Key Words: Tibet human rights, China human rights, Tibet, self-immolation
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