Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu), June 24 (ANI): Religious leaders attended a meeting here to express solidarity with the Tibetans who have self-immolated themselves in protest against the repressive rule of the Chinese.

Since 2009, at least 117 Tibetans have committed acts of self-immolation in China in protest against Beijing's policies in Tibet and nearby regions with large Tibetan populations.

The 14th anniversary of 'Dhyanalinga', a yogic temple located 30 kilometres from Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu state, was celebrated on Sunday.

Eminent speakers from various faiths and traditions addressed the gathering about "Universality of Religions".

A Buddhist monk, Jampasangey, said that it was difficult to stop the self-immolations if China did not change its policies against the Tibetans.

"That problem is greatly in Chinese hands because China has not done any good thing, they are doing bad thing like this continually. They can't stop Tibetan people who have committed suicide. So many Tibetan people have committed suicide; they are burning themselves for the sake of Tibetan freedom means Tibetan middle way freedom and His Holiness to come back to Tibet. They are requesting like that. But if Chinese government does not change, so, it is very difficult to stop it," said Jampasangey.

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

He has said he is not encouraging the self-immolations, but has called them "understandable".

China has defended its iron-fisted rule in Tibet, saying the remote region suffered from dire poverty, brutal exploitation and economic stagnation until 1950, when Communist troops "peacefully liberated" it.

Tibetan areas in China have been largely closed to foreign reporters and put under heavy security, making an independent assessment of the situation there hard. (ANI)

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