Beijing: A former Buddhist monk in Tibet has
been hospitalised after setting himself on fire, the latest in
a series of apparent self-immolation protests against Chinese
rule, a human rights group said.
Most of the protesters who have set themselves on fire
are calling for Tibetan freedom and the return of their
spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, who fled to India during an
abortive uprising against Chinese rule in 1959.
The Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet
said Tenzin Phuntsog, a former monk in his 40s, set himself on
fire Thursday. The attempted self-immolation reportedly
occurred near the Karma monastery in Tibet`s Chamdo region.
The group cited exiled Tibetans in India whom it did not
identify by name.
A woman who answered the telephone at the propaganda
office of the Chamdo regional Communist Party denied the
"Nobody self-immolated. Nothing like that happened in
Chamdo," said the woman, who would not give her name.
If the incident is confirmed, at least 12 monks, nuns and
former monks have now set themselves on fire this year in what
are seen as acts of desperation in the face of tightening
Chinese controls over Tibetan life and culture. All but the
latest occurred in heavily Tibetan areas of China`s Sichuan
Earlier this week, China`s public security minister, Meng
Jianzhu, visited Sichuan`s Aba prefecture, where eight
self-immolations have taken place this year and another
occurred in 2009.
The ministry said on its website that Meng visited Aba
police stations and inspected their facilities, including
video surveillance equipment.