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Australia says its ambassador to China is requesting permission to visit Tibet to investigate why protesters are setting themselves on fire.

Foreign Minister Bob Carr told the Senate on Monday that Ambassador Frances Adamson "will be seeking today to travel to Tibet to see for herself the grievances which have given rise to the self-immolations."

She will also request separate permission for Australian lawmakers to visit the Himalayan region.

About 30 Tibetans have set themselves on fire since last year to protest suppression of their Buddhist culture and call for the return the Dalai Lama, their spiritual leader who fled during a failed 1959 uprising against Chinese rule.

Beijing accuses the Dalai Lama's supporters of encouraging the self-immolations.

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