China

Tibet protester 'sets himself alight' in Sichuan, China

  • 6 January 2012
  • From the section China
Tight security at the Kirti monastery
Security has been tight at the Kirti monastery since the self-immolations began

A Tibetan protester has set himself on fire near a monastery in the Chinese province of Sichuan, activists say.

He called for the return of Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, before setting himself alight, according to the International Campaign for Tibet and the Free Tibet group.

They say security forces extinguished the flames and took the man away. His condition is not known.

Unconfirmed reports say a second man died after setting himself ablaze.

Both reported incidents occurred near the Kirti Buddhist monastery in Sichuan's Aba county. There has been a wave of self-immolations there since last March.

At least 13 people - mostly monks and nuns - have set fire to themselves to show their frustration with what they say is China's oppression of Tibetan Buddhists.

At least six have died, the rights groups say.

The Dalai Lama has condemned the self-immolations, but says people are being driven to desperation by "cultural genocide" under Chinese rule.

Beijing rejects this and accuses the Tibetan spiritual leader of encouraging people to set themselves on fire.

The Chinese authorities say their policies have brought a better standard of living to many Tibetans.

China is reluctant to allow journalists access to sensitive Tibetan areas and information about what is happening on the ground is difficult to verify.

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