China blames Dalai Lama for self-immolations
BEIJING (AFP) - Beijing blamed exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader the Dalai Lama on Wednesday for inciting a spate of self-immolations in China's Tibetan-inhabited regions.
Nearly 60 ethnic Tibetans, many of them monks and nuns, have set themselves on fire in China since February 2009 to protest against Beijing's rule in Tibet, with three such incidents occurring in recent days, rights groups say.
"To our knowledge most of the self-immolation cases in the Tibetan-inhabited regions are related to the instigation of the Dalai clique," China's foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters.
"In order to realise their separatist goals, the Dalai clique has incited some people to self-immolate. This is despicable and should be condemned."Mr Hong did not offer any evidence that the Dalai Lama or the exiled Tibetan government based in the Indian town of Dharamshala were inciting the self-immolations.