The government of China has released a documentary through its CCTV global media outlet that claims His Holiness the Dalai Lama is behind the wave of self-immolations in China. About 34 ethnic Tibetans, most of them Buddhist monks and nuns, have set fire to themselves over the past few months to protest Chinese oppression of Tibetan Buddhism.
The documentary was released globally, according to the Associatd Press. This is significant, IMO, because it shows us that Beijing is serious about influencing world opinion of the Dalai Lama and Tibetan Buddhism.
I haven't found the documentary itself online, although maybe some of you will have better luck. It's supposed to be on YouTube.
However, I believe this editorial in China Daily presents the perspective given in the documentary. The editorial writer, Shan Chu, makes a circumstantial case for collusion between the protests and Tibetans in exile, who are assumed to be controlled by the Dalai Lama
Tsering Woeser, a Tibetan poet and activist, saw the documentary and called it a disappointing elaboration of Beijing's hardline position, according to the Associated Press.
This week Beijing criticized His Holiness for being apathetic toward the horrific protests. Zhou Yan of Xinhua called him out for brushing off a question about the suicides with "no answer." This was also reported on CNN, which added that he also said, "I think that this is quite a sensitive political issue."
What else has he said? Last November His Holiness said he does not encourage the self-immolations and worried that they would only cause a backlash from Beijing. He told the BBC, "The question is how much effect the self-immolations have. That's the question. There is courage -- very strong courage. But how much effect?"
About three weeks ago he also addressed the issue briefly in an interview with Piers Morgan on CNN,
MORGAN: Since the start of 2011, activists say that over 30 Tibetans have self-immolated, obviously a very serious escalation in a number of people taking their lives in this way. As their holy leader, what do you feel about this? What do you say to people who are thinking of doing the same thing and why are more people doing this now?
DALAI LAMA: It's -- of course, it's extremely sad, very sad. But this is not sort of the something new in China itself. I think in the cultural revolution, one important Chinese monastery's abbot (ph) himself burned. And then Vietnam also you see it happen. And there are sort of cases there.
These are one way they believe non-violence. And then if things are desperate, then in sort of having other they simply to sacrifice their own life. So very sad. So now important thing is not solution that's expressed, we are very sad. But we must think what's cause of this so desperate situation.
I don't believe he has said unequivocally that the immolations must stop, and perhaps he needs to say that. What do you think?