Another Tibetan monk sets himself alight in China

Another Tibetan monk sets himself alight in China 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.