KATMANDU, Nepal – A Tibetan monk doused himself with gasoline and set himself on fire in Nepal's capital Wednesday in what is believed to be the latest self-immolation to protest Chinese rule in Tibet.
Police official Keshav Adhikari said the man went inside a cafe, poured gasoline on himself and set himself on fire before police and locals were able to put out the fire and rush him to the hospital.
Adhikari says the man was about 21 years old and has yet to be identified. He is in critical condition and being treated at the Tribhuwan University Teaching Hospital in Katmandu.
Security has been tightened in the area around Boudhanath in the northeastern edge of Katmandu where most of the Tibetan exiles live and home to Buddhist temples and monasteries.
A local eyewitness who did not want to be identified said he saw the monk come out of the cafe, light himself on fire and run a few steps chanting slogans against China before he collapsed on the ground. Police officers and local people were able to put out the fire and send him to hospital.
Thousands of Tibetan exiles live in Nepal and occasionally protest against China. The Nepalese government has banned such protests, saying it cannot allow any activities against any friendly nation to take place in Nepal.
Nepal has allowed thousands of Tibetan exiles to live in the country as refugees, while hundreds more are allowed to pass through Nepal, traveling from Tibet to Dharmasala, India, where their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, lives in exile.
Nearly 100 Tibetan monks, nuns and lay people have set themselves on fire in various countries, mostly in ethnic Tibetan areas inside China, since 2009.