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Exiled Tibetans hold candle light vigil for self-immolated martyrs in Shimla

June 26, 2012 - Shimla

Exiled Tibetans living in Shimla held a candle light vigil to express their solidarity with two Tibetans who had self immolated themselves in protest against repressive Chinese rule in Tibet.

The Tibetan Women Association and Tibetan Youth Congress, who are demanding UN intervention in the matter, organized the vigil.

Scores of Tibetan youth have reportedly committed self-immolation against what they termed as rising atrocities by the Chinese.

At least 38 Tibetans have set themselves on fire since March 2011 in protest against China's six-decade rule over Tibet, according to Tibetan rights groups and 28 of them had died.

Tsering, one of the organizers, requested world leaders to send free media to Tibet for reporting the facts and reasons behind the self-immolations.

"Through this protest, we only request United Nations and all the other leaders, all the world leaders to send free media inside Tibet to find the real situation inside Tibet and to know the reason why the self-immolation incidents are happening in Tibet. We also request all the peace loving people to help and save Tibet," said Tsering.

The Dalai Lama had angered Beijing by refusing to condemn the protests and accusing Beijing of overseeing a "cultural genocide" against Tibetans.

Activists say China violently had stamped out religious freedom and culture in Tibet, the mountainous region of western China that has been under Chinese control since 1950, when Communist troops marched in and announced its "peaceful liberation". Beijing insists Chinese rule has brought development and prosperity and denies trampling Tibetan rights.

Chinese authorities have moved to stifle growing dissent, fuelled partly by greater confidence among the country's burgeoning middle class and also online social networks.

China rejects criticism that it is eroding Tibetan culture and faith, saying its rule has ended serfdom and brought development to a backward region.

However, Beijing branded the self-immolators terrorists and criminals and blamed exiled Tibetans and the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, for inciting them.

China considers Dalai Lama a separatist for his long struggle for Tibetan autonomy, and tensions over the issue are at their highest in years after a spate of protests and self-immolations, which have prompted a Chinese security crackdown.

The Dalai Lama still casts a long shadow over policy-making, and many Tibetans worry what shape their struggle for greater autonomy will take once the charismatic leader, with his message of non-violence, dies.

Beijing considers the Dalai Lama, who fled into exile in India in 1959 after an abortive uprising against Chinese rule, a separatist. The Dalai Lama says he merely seeks greater autonomy for his Himalayan homeland.


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