By Mohan Guragain | Ekantipur.com
LHASA, Tibet, 7 May 2013
The recent incidents of self-immolation by Tibetan monks were instigated by sociopaths, members of the Tibetan People’s Congress said.
In an interaction with a team of journalists from Nepal and India in their office on Monday, Cheng Siqu, secretary-general of the Youth League of the Tibet Autonomous Region of China, named three types of people who have set fire to themselves — those leading isolated lives, underprivileged individuals such as “handicapped”, and those vulnerable to provocations of some “who don’t like the Tibetan society.” The officials said the Dalai Lama, who is in exile in India, was instigating young men to resort to the harsh measure.
“We have respect for the lives of humans,” said Tonga, deputy to the Regional People’s Congress and director general of the Ethnic, Religious, Foreign and Overseas Chinese Affairs of the Tibetan People’s Congress. He said there were public condemnations of the incidents.
Asked whether there were such suicide cases within Tibet, Cheng said they were reported since March 12 in other parts of China but not in Tibet .
According to Western media, there have been more than 100 cases of self-immolations in China and other countries by the so-called “Free-Tibet activists”. The Tibetan communist leaders said conspiracies were being hatched. They, however, did not specify the actors and the victims.
In meetings with the local Tibetan community, a couple of families said their livelihoods improved after 1951, when the Dalai Lama signed an agreement with the Chinese government for a “peaceful liberation of Tibet “, as they were freed from the chains of serfdom and allowed to own property.
The officials said China has invested heavily in the preservation of the Tibetan culture and tradition. It has spent billions of Yuans for the renovation of the Potala Palace — the seat of the Dalai Lamas — and the Zhokang temple — said to have been designed by the great Nepali sculptor Araniko — and the setting up of the Tibet University and the Buddhist University, they said.
The officials added that monks and nuns are entitled to pensions, while the young ones are enrolled in universities to study Buddhist theories and practices such as Yoga. Once they graduate, they are sent back to the monasteries to serve. Tibetan Buddhists believe in the reincarnation of monks. More than 60 incarnations have been found so far, Buddhist scholars said.
The government has listed 125 monasteries and temples as protected shrines. During the 12th five-year plan, 200 million Yuan was set aside for the protection and management of monasteries, the officials said.
In Tibet, which has an overwhelming Buddhist majority, people are free to practise other religions also, while there are more than 4,000 Muslims and 700 Catholics, they said.