News / Asia

Japan's Abe: We Want to Help Suffering Tibet People

The Dalai Lama gives a Tibetan shawl to Japan's main opposition Liberal Democratic Party president Shinzo Abe, at the upper house members' office building in Tokyo, November 13, 2012.
The Dalai Lama gives a Tibetan shawl to Japan's main opposition Liberal Democratic Party president Shinzo Abe, at the upper house members' office building in Tokyo, November 13, 2012.
VOA News
The man who could become Japan's next prime minister met with the Dalai Lama Tuesday and called for freedom in Tibet, prompting an immediate protest by the Chinese government.

Former prime minister Shinzo Abe, an outspoken nationalist who has been critical of Beijing, joined around 130 other parliamentarians in welcoming the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader to a meeting in Tokyo.

"We lawmakers here are in complete agreement, that we want to help the suffering Tibetan people and help create a Tibet in which people do not have to kill themselves in a quest for freedom," he said.

Speaking at the meeting, the Dalai Lama invited Japanese parliamentarians to visit Tibet to find out the reasons for a wave of self-immolations by Tibetans. He also called on Chinese authorities to conduct a "thorough investigation" into the protests against Chinese rule.

China's reaction

In response, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei blasted both the Dalai Lama and the Japanese government, saying both were encouraging extremist separatist groups.

"Japan's right wing openly supports the Dalai Lama's anti-China, separatist actions and interferes with China's internal policies. China strongly condemns this," said Hong Lei. "The Japanese government indulges the Dalai Lama's separatist movements and the right wing's anti-Chinese actions, betrays the principle and spirit of mutual benefit between China and Japan. China has already launched a protest."

Japan-China relations were already strained in recent months after Tokyo nationalized a group of uninhabited East China Sea islands at the center of a long-running dispute between the two Asian neighbors.

Self-immolations

Tuesday's meeting, which was not sponsored by the Tokyo government, occurred after two more Tibetans set themselves on fire to protest China's policies.

VOA Tibetan service says 24-year-old Nyingkar Tashi set himself on fire in front of a school in a town in Rebkong, an area called Tongren by the Chinese.  Witnesses say he called for the return of the Dalai Lama and freedom for Tibet before he died.

A second man, 18-year-old Nyangchak Bhum, set himself on fire and died several hours later in front of Chinese government offices in Dowa, also in the Rebkong region.

Witnesses say in both cases large crowd gathered after the self-immolations to say prayers.

Monday's self-immolations bring the total since February 2009 to 72, with the last nine coming since just last week.  In 58 cases, the protesters have died.

The self-immolations coincide with China's 18th Party Congress in Beijing and the country's once-in-a-decade leadership transition.

China has long accused Tibetan exiles of self-immolating as part of a separatist struggle, denouncing them as terrorists.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid