Exiled Tibetans criticise China for police firing on Dalai Lama's birthday

Dharamsala, July 17 (ANI): Criticising the firing by Chinese police on a group of monks and others who had gathered to mark the 78th birthday of the Dalai Lama in a restive Tibetan part of southwestern China, exiled Tibetans in Dharamsala said they were ready to do anything for their spiritual leader.

Two monks were shot in the head and several others seriously injured in the police firing incident in Ganji in China's Sichuan Province on July 6.

The victims had gathered at the base of a sacred mountain to make offerings and burn incense to celebrate the Dalai Lama's 78th birthday.

Minister for Religion and Culture in the exiled Tibetan Government, Pema Chhinjor, said: "The Tibetans will not give up his holiness, the Dalai Lama. They are ready to do anything for his holiness, the Dalai Lama and the Chinese are worried about his popularity and Dalai Lama's name is in everybody's mind. They are ready to sacrifice for his holiness, the Dalai Lama."

Beijing considers the Dalai Lama, who fled China in 1959 after an abortive uprising against Chinese rule, a violent separatist. The Dalai Lama, who is based in India, says he is merely seeking greater autonomy for his Himalayan homeland.

At least 119 Tibetans have set themselves alight in protest against Chinese rule since 2009, mostly in heavily Tibetan areas of Sichuan, Gansu and Qinghai provinces rather than in what China terms the Tibet Autonomous Region. Most have died. (ANI)