Two Tibetans set themselves on fire in anti-China protest | News | DW | 28.05.2012
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Two Tibetans set themselves on fire in anti-China protest

Two Tibetan monks have set themselves alight in Lhasa in protest at Chinese rule. The incident is the latest in a series of self-immolations by Tibetans angry at what they see as cultural and religious repression.

The two men set themselves on fire on Sunday in what are the first-ever reported self-immolations in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa.

The Chinese state-run news agency Xinhua reported that one man died of his injuries and the other was seriously hurt in the flames. Radio Free Asia (RFA) said the incident took place in front of the Jokhang Temple, a center for Buddhist pilgrimage in the heart of Lhasa.

"They were a continuation of the self-immolations in other Tibetan areas and these acts were all aimed at separating Tibet from China," Xinhua reported Chinese official Hao Peng as saying.

RFA said Lhasa was under heavy police and paramilitary guard and that the situation was very tense.

Anger at Chinese rule

Tibetan rights groups say that at least 34 Tibetans have set themselves on fire since March 2011 in protest at Chinese rule in Tibet. At least 24 have died.

Most of the immolations have taken place in Tibetan-populated areas of southwestern China, with only one other being reported before now in the Tibet Autonomous Region.

China calls the self-immolators "terrorists" and criminals. It blames exiled Tibetans and the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, for inciting the acts.

China has ruled Tibet for six decades. Tibetans accuse Beijing of curbing religious freedoms and repressing their culture and language.

tj/ng (Reuters, AFP, AP)