The Dalai Lama on Thursday said during a visit to Italy that Tibetans who have committed suicide in recent weeks were "not crazy" but were taking desperate action to escape Chinese "brutality".
"Tibetans who have taken their lives to escape the torture and prisons of China are not crazy," the Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader told some 3,500 supporters in the city of Trento in northern Italy.
The Dalai Lama was in the country to accept a prize for minorities given out by the autonomous province of Bolzano, which is in Italy but where a majority of the population is German-speaking.
The Dalai Lama said he had wanted to meet Pope Francis during his visit but had not been able to do so because the newly-elected pontiff was too busy. He said he still hoped to meet him soon.