Dharamsala, Dec 12 : Exiled Tibetans living in Dharamsala have again expressed their solidarity with self-immolators in Tibet and highlighted their plight in the freedom struggle from Chinese oppression through music.
A musical event was organised yesterday in Dharamshala to express this solidarity.
A Tibetan, Kunchok Tseten, had on December 3, set himself on fire in Tibet's Meruma town.
Since 2009, over 120 Tibetans have set themselves on fire in China to protest against Beijing's policies in Tibet and nearby regions with large Tibetan populations. Most were calling for the return of the Dalai Lama, their spiritual leader.
"Many Tibetans have taken a very emotional, very strong, very unprecedented way of protesting, which is self immolation. We need to tell the world that why these people are self immolating and if we want them to stop. We need to come forward, do whatever we can so that Tibetans in Tibet, their wishes, their aspirations can be fulfilled," said event organiser, Lobsang Wangyal.
Violence has flared in Tibet since 1950, when Beijing claims it "peacefully liberated" the region. Many Tibetans say Chinese rule has eroded their culture and religion. They are agitating for the Dalai Lama's return from exile in India, and genuine autonomy for their homeland.
Beijing denies trampling Tibetan rights and boasts of having brought development and prosperity to the region.
Tibetan singer and musician from California, Thichung, said: "The Tibetan movement and the Tibetan struggle has been kind of going through a very uphill battle. We seem to have a lot of obstacles in our freedom struggle and yet we have so much of hope from the international community and world community. But at the same time, I think Tibetans themselves need to keep the flame alive through preservation of culture, through music, your culture and through your identity."
As shocking as the first suicides were, the people who chose to burn themselves did so, Tibetan scholars say, in reaction to specific instances of abuse at particular monasteries. Tibetan Buddhist monasteries are often under surveillance and subject to raids by Chinese security forces.
Beijing considers the Dalai Lama, who fled China in 1959 after an abortive uprising against Chinese rule, a violent separatist. The Dalai Lama, who is based in India, says he is merely seeking greater autonomy for his Himalayan homeland.
Tensions have mounted between Tibet and China since 2008, after riots that broke out in the Tibet Autonomous Region and the Tibetan parts of China, which led to a government crackdown. (ANI)