Beijing: A Tibetan Buddhist monk set himself
on fire on Tuesday in protest at China`s rule of the Himalayan
region, rights groups said, the tenth similar incident to
occur in the nation`s southwest this year.
The monk, identified as Dawa Tsering, poured petrol on
his body and set himself on fire today morning in Sichuan
province`s Kandze county, the India-based Tibetan Centre for
Human Rights and Democracy said on its website.
"While on fire, monk Dawa Tsering raised slogans
demanding the return of the Dalai Lama, equality, and freedom
in Tibet," the statement said.
London-based rights group Free Tibet confirmed the latest
incident when contacted, but it was still seeking to
identify the monk and his current condition.
Eight Tibetan Buddhist monks and one nun have set
themselves alight in Tibetan-inhabited regions of Sichuan
province since the self-immolation of a young monk at the
Kirti monastery in Aba county in March sparked major protests
that led to a government clampdown.
At least five monks and the nun died in the
self-immolations, rights groups said.
All but two of the incidents occurred after Chinese
authorities in late August jailed three monks to prison terms
ranging from 11 to 13 years for their alleged involvement in
the March death in Kirti.
Most of the suicide attempts have taken place in Aba.
Calls to Kandze county, known in Chinese as Ganzi, went
unanswered late Tuesday.
The monk, aged around 38, was in critical condition and
returned to his monastery after having been first taken to
hospital by fellow monks, the Tibetan centre said. His chances
of survival were poor, it added.
"The latest incident underlies that what is happening is
much more than the events in Ngaba (Aba)," Free Tibet
spokeswoman Stephanie Brigden said.
"It illustrates that Tibetans are coming together in
protest against China`s occupation of Tibet."
Brigden added that the latest incident came after
security forces shot and wounded two Tibetans during a protest
in Kandze on October 15-16.
Many Tibetans in China are angry about what they see as
growing domination by the country`s majority Han ethnic group,
and Aba`s Kirti monastery has become a flashpoint for the
mounting anger at the erosion of their culture.
Monks in Aba prefecture said last week that the wave
of self-immolations are linked to Beijing`s refusal to engage
with the Dalai Lama and allow the spiritual leader to return
to his Tibetan homeland.