Dalai Lama: No Choice But Silence on Immolations

In an interview with The Financial Times, the Dalai Lama explains why he has declined to condemn the wave of some 120 self-immolations in Tibetan areas—both to avoid implicating himself in orchestrating them, as Chinese authorities claim, and because he has no alternative to offer. From Amy Kazmin:

The seems upset. “If I created this, then I have the right to say, ‘No, don’t do,’” he says forcefully. “This is their own creation: Tibetan people – inside . These people, I consider my boss. I am carrying their wish. I am not demanding, ‘You should do this, you should not do this’ … The causes of these things are created by hard-line officials. They have the responsibility. They have to find ways to stop this.”

[…] “One word,” he says, firmly. “Those self-burnings: these people, not drunk. Not family problems … The overall situation is so tense, so desperate, so they choose a very sad way … It is difficult to say, ‘You must live and face these unbearable difficulties.’ If I have some alternative to offer them, then I [can]say, ‘Don’t do that. Instead of shortening your life, please live long, and we can do this and this and that.’ But [I have] nothing – no alternative. Morally, [it’s] very difficult. There is no other choice but to remain silent, and prayer. Clear?” [Source]

Nevertheless, he says, he remains optimistic. The interview also covers relations with China and Chinese, dim prospects for his return to Tibet, his age and disavowal of , and his prayers that “the Chinese leadership should develop more common sense.”