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Dalai Lama Questions Self-Immolations

Exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama expressed his worries about the increasing self-immolations by young Tibetan monks and nuns in eastern Tibet.

In an interview with the BBC Saturday, the Dalai Lama said he doesn’t encourage Tibetans to set themselves on fire and questioned the effectiveness of self-immolation as a form of protest against China.

“There is courage -- very strong courage. But how much effect? Courage alone is no substitute. You must utilize your wisdom, ” the 76 year old Buddhist leader told the BBC.

In eastern Tibet, 11 Tibetans have set themselves on fire since March, demanding greater religious freedom and return of Tibet's spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

China has blamed exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, for inciting the violence and called the self-immolation demonstrations immoral. The Dalai Lama on November 7 said hardline Chinese policies is the cause of a wave of self-immolations by Tibetan Buddhist monks and nuns.

The Dalai Lama has blamed hardline Chinese policies, which he describes as "cultural genocide," for a wave of self-immolations by Tibetan Buddhist monks and nuns.

The exiled spiritual leader also said hardline Chinese officials have been sent to govern Tibetan areas over the past 10 to 15 years. He said that accounts for the desperate acts of the monks and nuns.

Most of the self-immolations have been centered around the Kirti monastery in Sichuan, where the first self-immolation took place in March.

The action prompted a harsh Chinese crackdown in which the monks and nuns have been subjected to re-education programs and armed security forces patrol the surrounding streets.