A spate of suicides by Tibetan Buddhist monks were aimed at undermining the stability of Tibet and it has no popular support, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has said.
"Any attempt to incite a small number of monks to take radical moves to undermine the stability in Tibet Autonomous Region is not in the development interests of Tibetan-inhabited areas or in the interests of Tibetan people," Wen said.
"Such an attempt has no popular support," Wen added while answering a question at a press conference with European Council President, Herman Van Rompuy, and European Commission President, Jose Manuel Barroso, here last night.
Tibet is an inseparable part of China's territory, Wen said, adding that Tibetan compatriots are members of China's big family and "They are our brothers."
This was the first time that a high ranking member of the Chinese leadership commented on the unabated suicides taking place during the last few months.
Till now over 20 monks and nuns have attempted self immolations, mostly in South West Sichuan province bordering Tibet. A teen-aged Nun and a Monk have set themselves on fire recently.
While the Nun died, the young monk was reportedly admitted to a hospital.
Overseas Chinese groups say that those who attempted suicides, shouted slogans calling for return of the Dalai Lama from exile as well as condemning stern security measures against the clergy.
Wen said Tibet practices regional ethnic autonomy.
"We pay close attention to protecting the ecological environment and traditional culture of the Tibet Autonomous Region, and we respect and protect the freedom of religious belief of Tibetan people," he was quoted by the state-run Xinhua news agency as saying.
Wen said, the Chinese government has long been committed to promoting economic and social development in Tibet, and has constantly increased support for development in that region.
"The Chinese government has made a new plan to support development in Tibet, which is particularly aimed at improving the livelihood of local farmers and herdsmen," he said.