Dalai Lama ducks question on monk self-immolations
May 14, 2012 -- Updated 2001 GMT (0401 HKT)
- NEW: The Dalai Lama says he does not want to politicize a prize ceremony
- "No answer," Tibet's spiritual leader says when asked directly about the protests
- More than 30 people set themselves on fire last year over China's occupation, advocates say
- The Dalai Lama is in London to accept a $1.77 million prize
London (CNN) -- The Dalai Lama refused to answer a question Monday about whether Tibetan monks should stop setting themselves on fire to protest China's occupation of Tibet.
"No answer," he said.
"I think that this is quite a sensitive political issue," the spiritual leader of the Tibetan Buddhist community said.
Self-immolation is becoming an increasingly common form of protest for Tibetans who want genuine autonomy from China and accuse Beijing of repression. More than 30 of them took place in the last year in China, Tibetan advocacy groups say.
Dalai Lama: China belongs to the people
The Dalai Lama was speaking in London, where he is accepting the Templeton Prize.
He said he did not want to manipulate or politicize the event.
"Last year, I retired from political responsibility," he said.
The Dalai Lama broke with four centuries of Tibetan tradition by separating the political aspect of his role from the spiritual one, he explained. He handed over political leadership of the Tibetan community to an elected prime minister in 2011.
The Templeton Prize, an award worth £1.1 million ($1.77 million), honors "outstanding individuals who have devoted their talents to expanding our vision of human purpose and ultimate reality."
The Dalai Lama will give $1.5 million to the aid organization Save the Children, he said.
He is giving another $200,000 of the prize money to the Mind & Life Institute, and $75,000 to his own monastic community.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1526 GMT (2326 HKT)
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0009 GMT (0809 HKT)
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1801 GMT (0201 HKT)
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1548 GMT (2348 HKT)
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0507 GMT (1307 HKT)
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1215 GMT (2015 HKT)
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0006 GMT (0806 HKT)
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 2327 GMT (0727 HKT)
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.