Tokyo, Nov 13: The Dalai Lama on Tuesday lashed out at Beijing, saying the latter needed to thoroughly probe the self-immolations committed by Tibetans and blamed "narrow-minded Communist officials" for considering the Buddhist culture as a threat.
The Tibetan spiritual guru also invited foreign media and members of parliament from Japan to visit Tibet, although it may be mentioned that trips by foreign representatives are kept severely restricted. The Dalai Lama was speaking to some Japanese lawmakers who included opposition party head Shinzo Abe, known to be a China hawk and considered to be the top contender for the post of the prime minister.
Meanwhile, foreign ministry spokesperson Hong Lei said Beijing lodged a protest with Tokyo following the Dalai Lama's visit. He said China never approved any other country or individual encouraging the Dalai's separatist moves.
Eight cases of self-immolations have been reported over the last one week in the Tibetan region, including two on Monday. While Beijing has accused the Dalai Lama of fuelling such acts of violence, the latter said he has always stood against it.
The Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson on Monday also alleged that the Dalai was supporting Japan in the ongoing territorial dispute between the two Asian neighbours. The Dalai was also termed a 'separatist' who aligned himself with Tokyo. According to the Chinese media, the Dalai Lama called the disputed islands by their Japanese names during a recent news conference in Yokohama although the western media later found that he had referred them just as "the islands".
Tibet support groups based abroad said the rise in violent protests in Tibet in recent times proved the growing dissatisfaction of the Tibetans with Beijing's rule.
The Dalai Lama also said the self-immolations were desperate protests against Beijing's tough policies on Tibet, which even restricts religious life.