Another self-immolation hits China: Rights group

Last Updated: Sunday, March 4, 2012 - 21:16

Beijing: A mother of four died after setting
herself on fire in a Tibetan-inhabited region of southwest
China on Sunday, a rights group said, in the latest
self-immolation to hit the country.

The death of Rinchen, 32, in Sichuan province`s Aba town
comes on the eve of the country`s 10-day parliamentary session
where growing social unrest across China is likely to be on
the agenda.

Rinchen called for the return of Tibet`s spiritual leader,
the Dalai Lama, as she set herself alight near the restive
Kirti monastery, London-based Free Tibet said in a statement.

The calls to local police and government officials in Aba went
unanswered.

Rights groups say more than 20 people have set themselves
on fire in Tibetan-inhabited areas of China over the past
year, mostly in Sichuan, in protest at what is seen as
repressive Chinese rule.

Authorities are particularly keen to avoid any protests
during this year`s parliamentary meeting, the last under the
current leadership before a major transition of power begins
in the autumn, which coincides with the sensitive
anniversaries of the Dalai Lama`s flight into exile in 1959
and of deadly riots in 2008.

China`s top leader in Tibet has ordered increased controls
over the Internet and mobile phones during the period,
according to state media reports.

Tibetans have long chafed at China`s rule over the vast
Tibetan plateau, accusing Beijing of curbing religious
freedoms and eroding their culture and language.

Tensions have increased markedly this year, and western
parts of Sichuan, which borders the Tibet autonomous region
and has a large population of ethnic Tibetans, have been hit
by deadly bouts of unrest in recent months.

As a result, authorities have imposed virtual martial law
in parts of the vast Tibetan-inhabited regions, increasing
their surveillance of monasteries and cutting some phone and
Internet communications.

China blames the Dalai Lama of inciting the
self-immolations in a bid to split Tibet from the rest of the
nation.

Many Tibetans who travelled to India in January with valid
passports to attend the Dalai Lama`s teachings have been
detained on their return to China and made to undergo
political re-education, rights groups say.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, March 4, 2012 - 21:16

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