The Dalai Lama has spoken out on the spate of Tibetan self-immolations, saying China is more interested in criticizing him than investigating the reasons behind the incidents.
Meanwhile, two more Tibetans self-immolated on Monday, bringing to nine the number of people who have set themselves on fire over the last week to protest Chinese rule, News.com.au reported.
The latest incidents took place in Tongren, a county in northwest China's Qinghai province, Agence France-Presse quoted Xinhua news agency as saying
AFP cited the UK-based Free Tibet group as saying that one of the protesters was a man in his mid-20s called Nyingkar Tashi, who set himself alight during a prayer ceremony for a young mother who self-immolated in the area earlier this month.
He reportedly called out for freedom in Tibet and for the long life of the Dalai Lama.
The latest self-immolations threaten to distract attention from China's 18th Communist Party Congress, a once-in-a-decade weeklong gathering in Beijing to choose new national leadership.
According to PBS, Chinese citizens are already angry at the Communist Party about the growing gap between rich and poor and accusations of corruption.
Meanwhile, in what are thought to be the Dalai Lama's first remarks on the issue of self-immolations since the Communist Party congress began, he told reporters in Japan that Beijing was not looking "seriously" at the protests.
Tibet's spiritual leader-in-exile told reporters in Okinawa, during the last leg of a 12-day visit to the country, that:
"The Chinese government should investigate the cause [of the incidents]. China does not look into it seriously and tries to end [the incidents] only by criticizing me."
The Tibetan Communist Party has denounced the Dalai Lama for orchestrating the immolations to breed unrest, AFP wrote, quoting Losang Gyaltsen, vice-chairman of the Tibet region's government, as saying:
"The Dalai Lama clique and overseas Tibetan separatists have been sacrificing other people's lives for their own secret political aims."
Since 2009, 69 people have set themselves on fire in protest at Chinese rule, of whom 54 have died, the India-based Tibetan government-in-exile had said before the latest incidents.