Wave of Tibet immolations among history's biggest; Talks possible if Dalai Lama gives up independence demand: China
Dozens of Tibetans have set themselves on fire over the past year to protest Chinese rule, sometimes drinking kerosene to make the flames explode from within, in one of the biggest waves of political self-immolations in recent history. But the stunning protests are going largely unnoticed in the wider world — due in part to a smothering Chinese security crackdown in the region that prevents journalists from covering them. While a single fruit seller in Tunisia who lit himself on fire in December 2010 is credited with igniting the Arab Spring democracy movement, the Tibetan self-immolations have so far failed to prompt the changes the protesters demand: an end to government interference in their religion and a return of the exiled Dalai Lama. Still, experts describe self-immolations as, historically, a powerful form of protest, and the ones in Tibet might yet lead to some broader uprising or stir greater international pressure on Beijing...
As suicide bids continued unabated in Tibetan-inhabited areas seeking return of the Dalai Lama, China, for the first time in recent months, has indicated its willingness to reopen the stalled talks with him if he "truly gives up Tibetan independence." "The central government has also made clear its willingness for talks if the Dalai Lama truly gives up Tibetan independence. The door remains open to him," the state-run 'China Daily' said today.
This is perhaps the first time that an indication has come up in the official media after the previous dialogue between Chinese officials and representatives of the Dalai Lama failed to make any headway in 2010. It follows a barrage of criticism unleashed against him in recent weeks, with China alleging that he was instigating suicides, specially among the Buddhist monks in Tibetan-inhabited areas. Besides, he wanted his authority to cover all of Tibet, including, Sichuan, Qinghai, Gansu and Yunnan. All these regions put together constitute one fourth of China's territory, Qu said. Though the Dalai says on one hand that he renounced the independence demand, his other demands that all troops and mainland Chinese should leave the areas amounted to seeking independence, he said. Asked about the prospects of the resumption of talks, Qu had said the Chinese Central Government can consider if the Dalai abandons his "independence political objective."..
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