Exiled Tibetans rally for world's attention

 
Tibetan activists holding photos of Tibetans who have self-immolated during a protest in New Delhi yesterday. Although nearly 100 Tibetans have burned themselves to death in public since 2009 to protest against what they see as brutal Chinese rule, the grisly protests have drawn only a muted response from the world and dwindling media coverage. -- PHOTO: AFP

Thousands of exiled Tibetans have lobbied in New Delhi to try recapturing the world's concern over China's rule of Tibet as well as to push the new administration in Beijing to restart a stalled dialogue.

The "Free Tibet" movement, experts say, is at a crossroads now that global attention is focused on economic and military issues rather than freedom struggles of minority groups worldwide.

Although nearly 100 Tibetans, including monks, have burned themselves to death in public since 2009 to protest against what they see as brutal Chinese rule, the grisly protests have drawn only a muted response from the world and dwindling media coverage.

"They are desperate and fearful that Tibet is falling off the world's radar which is now occupied with economic issues and security problems from Syria to Afghanistan," said Mr Bhaskar Roy, a China expert with the New Delhi-based think-tank South Asia Analysis Group. "The slew of self-immolations has not done much for the Tibet cause beyond strengthening the solidarity of Tibetans."

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