DHARAMSHALA, India, 13 December 2012
Tibetan exiles in Dharamshala organised a ‘Sing for Tibet‘ programme and used music to show solidarity to their compatriots who immolated themselves to protest against China’ s oppression in the Himalayan region.
As the number of self-immolations in restive Tibetan regions rises sharply, Beijing appears to be tightening rules against the anti-China protests despite hopes the new leadership may take a softer line against Tibet.
Some experts have said Communist Party chief Xi Jinping-whose former vice premier father had a close bond with exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama-might adopt a more reformist approach to the troubled mountainous region when he takes over as president in March.
But so far, the anti-China protests, including 81 burning cases this year, have only been met with an intensified crackdown by Chinese security forces.
“This is a programme called ‘sing for Tibet’ organised on 12/12/12. This is the third year we have done this programme, we did it 10/10/10, 11/11/11, which was rained out and this is 12/12/12. We hope to do it every year until the crisis is solved,” said Lisa Dhamija, a musician participating in the event.
Beijing has defended its iron-fisted rule in Tibet, saying the remote region suffered from dire poverty, brutal exploitation of serfs and economic stagnation until 1950 when Communist troops “peacefully liberated” it.
There has been a steep increase in cases of self immolation this year, and in November alone-when Xi was named the new head of the Party — 29 people set themselves on fire.
In all, there have been 94 burnings to protest Chinese rule since 2009, according to the Tibet-government-in-exile. At least 77 people have died from their injuries.