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Home > Embassy News > 2011
The Chinese Embassy refutes Guardian's report on Nov 11th

On November 11, The Guardian carried a report, which quotes heavily from comments of “exiled Tibetans” that glorify acts of self-immolation. The Embassy spokesman wrote a letter to the newspaper to refute its comment. On 26 November, The Guardian published the main content of the letter. The entire letter is as follows:

“Sir, Your November 11th report, 'Burning martyrs': The Wave of Tibetan Monks Setting Themselves on Fire’, which quotes heavily from comments of “exiled Tibetans” that glorify acts of self-immolation, is one-sided and misleading.

Nothing is more precious in the world than human life. The self-immolations of monks and nuns who dedicate their lives to Buddhism were truly tragic. They were also a fatal violation of the spirit of peace and tolerance that defines Tibetan Buddhism. And as such these acts have met anger and disapproval from the local people and grieving lament from the religious community.

People in Tibet have legal channels to make their voices heard like other Chinese citizens. Such extreme acts cannot be justified. It is highly likely that some have fallen victim to the control of an abnormal force.

It should be noted that pro-independence Tibetans outside China were quick to publicize information and tip off Western media about the self-immolations, sometimes within just a few minutes of their occurrence. And there have never been any calls from the Dalai Lama to end such extreme actions. Instead, some among the Dalai Lama followers even publicly sang praises of such acts and agitated for more to follow. These desperate moves are clearly inhumane and politically motivated. They breach Buddhist teachings and violate moral conscience. The legitimate question is this: Have these young lives become pawns of a separatist agenda?

Since reform and opening-up in 1978, China has done a lot to protect religious freedom and the cultural heritage in Tibet. Now, Tibet has 1,700-plus religious sites and 46,000 monks and nuns, accounting for 1.6 percent of the total local population. This is a percentage far higher than many devoutly religious countries and regions. Tibetans, like all other ethnic groups, are enjoying freedom of religious belief and expression. As a measure of rising living standards, the life expectancy of Tibetans has jumped to 67 years from 35 years of the Dalai Lama’s time in Tibet.

Like most countries, China believes in the separation of church and state. Religion should have no role in the administrative or judicial matters of any part of our country. Furthermore, under Chinese law, no individual or orgnisations are permitted to harm lives, break social order or threaten national unity, no matter whether they are religious.

The time has come for lies to be exposed. The brutal damage to lives must be stopped. The last thing we want to see is the centuries-old Tibetan Buddhism being taken in an extremist direction. We hope people will see through the plot and not be misled by a separatist agenda under the religious cover.

The tragedy shouldn’t repeat itself. ”

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