1st self-immolation of year reported in Tibetan region

A report says a Tibetan Buddhist monk has set himself on fire and died in a protest against Chinese rule, in the first such action of its kind this year.

U.S.-government funded Radio Free Asia said Kalsang Wangdu self-immolated on Monday afternoon near the Retsokha monastery in western Sichuan province.

RFA said the monk called out for Tibetan independence while he burned.

Tibetan exile sources say at least 114 monks and laypeople have self-immolated over the past five years, most of whom have died.

Information from the isolated region is extremely hard to obtain and local officials are reportedly under orders to remain silent about immolations. An officer who answered the phone Wednesday at Kardze police headquarters and gave his surname as Li said no such incident had been reported.