Tibetan Monk Sets Himself on Fire in Protest Against Chinese Rule

Published October 25, 2011

| Associated Press

A British human rights group says another Tibetan Buddhist monk has set himself on fire in a protest against Chinese rule over the Himalayan region. It is the 10th self immolation this year.

The London-based Free Tibet group said in a statement that the monk set himself ablaze early Tuesday outside a Tibetan monastery in southwestern Sichuan province's Ganzi prefecture.

The group said it was unable to confirm the monk's age or name. It was unsure of his condition and whereabouts.

At least nine Tibetans in their late teens and 20s have self-immolated since March, with five or more of them dying from their injuries. All but one of those occurred in Aba, a town in Sichuan near Tibet that has been the site of a series of protests.

Most of those protests have been led by monks who are fiercely loyal to Tibet's exiled Buddhist leader, the Dalai Lama, who fled the Himalayan region in 1959 amid an abortive anti-Beijing uprising and is reviled by China's communist government.

The self-declared Tibetan government-in-exile has described the self-immolations as tragic acts and called for the international community to urge Beijing to open a dialogue on its policies in Tibet and traditionally Tibetan regions of western China.

China's Foreign Ministry has condemned the immolations and accused the Dalai Lama's supporters of encouraging them. Last week, ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu called such alleged support "violence and terrorism in disguise."

A woman who answered the phone at the Ganzi Public Security Bureau said she was unaware of the incident and hung up the phone.

A man reached by telephone at the Ganzi Monastery said "I don't know, I'm sorry," when asked about the alleged immolation and hung up.

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