BEIJING — Chinese officials today renewed their accusations that exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and those around him are responsible for instigating a wave of self-immolations in China.
The protests that have seen has many as 68 ethnic Tibetans set themselves on fire in the past 20 months — 55 of whom reportedly have died — are unprecedented in modern Tibetan history, and they’ve sharply challenged the Chinese Communist Party’s usual means of pacifying trouble. Neither Beijing’s investment in infrastructure in ethnic Tibetan areas nor its deployment of police and a tough security crackdown has ended the campaign. Many in China’s Tibetan enclaves say the protests are the result of an authoritarian regime that’s targeted their culture, language and religion. At a meeting of party leaders from western Sichuan province, an official accused the Dalai Lama and the “Dalai clique” of masterminding the incidents.
“They are the plotters, instigators, organizers and directors of self-immolation incidents in the Tibetan area,” Li Changping, a member of the Communist Party’s provincial standing committee in Sichuan, said during a question-and-answer session with reporters.