Dalai Lama ducks question on monk self-immolations

Dalai Lama silent on self-immolations
Dalai Lama silent on self-immolations


    Dalai Lama silent on self-immolations


Dalai Lama silent on self-immolations 01:05

Story highlights

  • 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

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.

The Dalai Lama was speaking in London, where he is accepting the Templeton Prize.

Dalai Lama: China belongs to the people
Dalai Lama: China belongs to the people


    Dalai Lama: China belongs to the people


Dalai Lama: China belongs to the people 03:07

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.

      CNN recommends

    • pkg clancy north korea nuclear dreams_00002004.jpg

      North Korea nuclear dream video

      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.
    • Photos: Faces of the world

      Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
    • pkg rivers uk football match fixing_00005026.jpg

      How to fix a soccer match

      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.
    • No Eiffel Towers, Statues of Liberties, Mt. Rushmores, Taj Mahals, Aussie koalas or Chairman Maos.

      15 biggest souvenir-buying no-no's

      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.