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Tattoo artist inks Tibetan cause in Dharamsala

Dharamsala (Himachal Pradesh), Fri, 12 Apr 2013 ANI

Dharamsala (Himachal Pradesh), April 12 (ANI): A Tibetan tattoo artist and activist Tamding Tseten organized a day long tattoo exhibition here, to highlight China's clampdown on Tibet.

Depicting the growing oppression of Beijing in the Himalayan region, Tamding Tseten showcased his graphic designs and tattoos to the audience.

As a mark of his solidarity with the Tibetan cause, the artist also offered to make any political tattoos related to Tibet, free of cost.

"Right now the biggest situation in Tibet is the self immolation. So the Tibetan people and western people are sending out a message by carrying a tattoo on their body. Art is not a big deal but the tattoo is permanent, so it will stay forever. A person takes the Tibetan issue on his or her body and that is a big deal for me, so that is why I am doing it free of cost," said Tseten.

According to some the tattoo designs and posters sent out a strong message and had a long-lasting impact.

The visitors at the exhibition said that the idea of a tattoo showing the Tibetan cause would gather global attention on the plight of people living in the disputed region.

"I think tattoos are really curious case because a lot of times they become stigmatized in society, people associate tattoos with something negative but I think what Tamding is doing is that he is associating tattoos with something positive and people are getting all kinds of designs related to Tibet and they are on their body forever, so everywhere they go in the world, they carry these designs with them," said Amber Jade, an American citizen, attending the exhibition.

Meanwhile, Chinese authorities have detained 70 people in a crackdown on self-immolations in ethnic Tibetan regions, the largest single reported sweep of suspects to date as the government tries to stop the unrest.

More than 100 Tibetans have set themselves on fire to protest against Chinese rule since 2009 across a large swathe of ethnically Tibetan regions, with most of them dying from their injuries.

In the past few months, the government has begun a new tactic to discourage the protests, detaining and jailing people it deems to have incited the burnings.

China has repeatedly denounced exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, and overseas Tibetan groups for fomenting the self-immolations.

Beijing considers 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 called on China to investigate the self-immolations. He has said he is not encouraging them 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, making an independent assessment of the situation there hard. (ANI)

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