DHARAMSHALA: France has expressed its concern and sadness over the upsurge of tragic self-immolations by young Tibetans in Tibet, calling on the Chinese government that dialogue is the only way to resolve the crisis in Tibet.
“Following the tragic incidents that have taken place in recent weeks, France expresses its sadness over the death by self-immolation of young Tibetan monks. The extreme nature of their acts reflects a strong sense of despair,” French foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said at a regular press briefing on 19 January.
“France is concerned by the upsurge in the number of these self-immolations since fall 2011,” he told reporters.
“It [France] reaffirms its attachment to religious freedom and the preservation of Tibetan culture and traditions, as well as the respect for human rights. It believes that dialogue is the only way to achieve a lasting solution, while fully respecting Tibet’s cultural and spiritual identity, within the framework of the People’s Republic of China.
“These messages are regularly reaffirmed to the Chinese authorities within the framework of our political contacts and the EU-China dialogue on human rights,” Mr Valero said.
Sixteen Tibetans have self immolated in the last twelve months, out of which 12 succumbed to their injuries, while the whereabouts of 4 Tibetans remain unknown. All those who set themselves in fire have demanded the restoration of freedom in Tibet and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to his homeland.
Lobsang Jamyang, aged 22, who set himself on fire in Ngaba in north-eastern Tibet last Saturday, was kicked and beaten by police with clubs spiked with nails. “He doused himself in petrol and set himself on fire. He walked into the street calling for the long life of the Dalai Lama and for freedom in Tibet. Police began to kick and beat him with clubs spiked with nails rather than immediately focusing on putting out the flames,” US based rights group International Campaign for Tibet said.
Meanwhile, China plans to close Tibet to foreign travellers for a fifth straight year.
The Associated Press quoted travel agents in Lhasa as saying that the government’s tourist administration in Tibet’s capital had informed them that foreign travellers would be banned from 20 February to 30 March.