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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

China questions Tibetan self-immolations intentions

February 27, 2012

By Valarie Tan | Posted: 24 February 2012 1930 hrs

These have been pictures uploaded online showing Tibetan monks and nuns setting themselves on fire to protest against Chinese rule.

Dozens of such acts have allegedly been committed in western China in recent months, according to separatist movements supporting Tibet's independence.

Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference spokesperson Zhao Qizheng expressed his concern on the issue of Tibet but questioned the protestors' true intention when speaking to reporters in Beijing about the upcoming high-level parliamentary meetings.

He said: "We are very concerned about this but don't you find it strange that the series of self-immolations involve youths and some are just 18 years old. If it is due to political reasons, do they know politics? If it is caused by suppression, they have access to clothes, food and housing and they can practise their religion freely."

Mr Zhao also insisted that these acts were instigated.

He said: "Someone would announce the time of the self-immolation even before it has been committed. A camera will be present and the video is quickly uploaded online and no one is allowed to rescue the protestor. The answer is clear. There is someone behind the whole operation calling them heroes."

Domestic issues aside, Mr Zhao was also asked about Nagoya Mayor Takashi Kawamura's denial of the Nanking massacre - an incident which has sparked off strong protest from the Chinese public and an official complaint filed to Japan from China.

Mr Zhao said: "He (Takashi Kawamura) used his father's words to deny true facts and history. This kind of behaviour is extremely unfriendly and does not recognize reality. It is an unfriendly behaviour towards the Chinese."

The incident comes just as China and Japan commemorate 40 years of normalizing relations this year but it is unlikely to put a big dent in ties between the two sides.

China is expected to hold a celebration marking the continued friendship of the two sides in the weeks to come.

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