Tibetan women 'die after self immolation'

Pro-Tibet protesters in the USA (February 2012) Tibetan protesters around the world are drawing attention to self-immolations

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Two Tibetan women have died in separate incidents of self-immolation in Western China, Tibetan rights activists and exiles say.

On Monday a Tibetan student in western China reportedly died after she set fire to herself in Maqu county of Gansu province on Saturday.

On Sunday rights groups reported that a mother-of-four burned herself to death in Aba in Sichuan province.

The region has seen a string of self-immolations to protest at Chinese rule.

There have been about 25 reported self-immolations in Tibetan parts of China over the last year. But the reports cannot be independently verified.

Security in Tibetan areas of China has been further tightened ahead of sensitive anniversaries.

China has poured money into Tibetan-inhabited areas, seeking to win them over by boosting the economy.

But it has also flooded the same areas with police, increased surveillance at monasteries and partially blocked the internet and mobile phones.

Foreign journalists caught trying to reach the scene of much of the unrest - in the west of Sichuan province - have been turned back or detained.

March is a month of sensitive Tibetan anniversaries including that of the Dalai Lama's flight into exile in 1959.

BBC Asia-Pacific analyst Viv Marsh says Chinese authorities will be keen to avoid protests during a parliamentary meeting in Beijing this week ahead of a big leadership transition later this year.

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