Another Tibetan monk sets himself on fire in China

AP News
Posted: Oct 26, 2011 4:13 AM
Another Tibetan monk sets himself on fire in China

A British human rights group says another Tibetan Buddhist monk has set himself on fire in a protest against Chinese rule over the Himalayan region in the 10th self-immolation this year.

The monk set himself ablaze early Tuesday outside a Tibetan monastery in southwestern Sichuan province's Ganzi prefecture, the London-based Free Tibet group said in a statement.

The group said it was unable to confirm the monk's age or name. It was unsure of his condition and whereabouts.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said Wednesday that the ministry had noted reports about the alleged incident, but was unable to confirm it had happened.

The ministry has condemned the immolations and accuses Tibet's exiled Buddhist leader, the Dalai Lama, and his supporters of encouraging them. Jiang reiterated the government stance, telling reporters at a regular press briefing that "inciting people to kill themselves in such a cruel manner is a violent and terrorist activity."

At least nine Tibetans in their late teens and 20s have self-immolated since March, with five or more of them dying from their injuries. All but one of those occurred in Aba, a town in Sichuan near Tibet that has been the site of a series of protests.

Most of those protests have been led by monks who are fiercely loyal to the Dalai Lama, who fled the Himalayan region in 1959 amid an abortive anti-Beijing uprising and is reviled by China's communist government.

The self-declared Tibetan government-in-exile has described the self-immolations as tragic acts and called for the international community to urge Beijing to open a dialogue on its policies in Tibet and traditionally Tibetan regions of western China.

A woman who answered the phone at the Ganzi Public Security Bureau said she was unaware of the incident and hung up the phone.

A man reached by telephone at the Ganzi Monastery said "I don't know, I'm sorry," when asked about the alleged immolation and hung up.