Tibetan protests: Nun dies in eleventh self-immolation case

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Tibetan protests: Nun dies in eleventh self-immolation case
Beijing:  A Buddhist nun in China's southwest Sinhuan Province has died after immolating herself. This is the eleventh case of self-immolation among Tibetans in western China in recent months. Chinese news agency Xinhua reported the news, saying the motive is being investigated.

Nine other men and one woman who have set themselves on fire since March were seen as having acted in protest to Chinese restrictions on the Tibetan religion and culture.

Aba has been the scene of numerous protests over the past several years against the Chinese government. Most are led by monks who are fiercely loyal to Tibet's exiled Buddhist leader, the Dalai Lama, who fled the Himalayan region in 1959 amid an abortive uprising against the Chinese rule and is reviled by Beijing.

Although there is no tradition of self-immolation as a form of protest in the Tibetan society, the suicides are seen as a sign of growing desperation in the ethnically Tibetan region in Aba County.

Tensions have been running high since massive anti-government protests in 2008.

Most set themselves on fire while calling for Tibetan freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama. Aged in their late teens and twenties, at least six died of their injuries, while the condition of the others is not known.

Last week, exiled Tibetans released an amateur video that allegedly shows the failed suicide bid of a Tibetan monk in southwest China in late September. The man in the video - believed to be Tibetan monk Lobsang Konchok - reportedly survived.

The person who filmed the video and those who helped get it out of China did so on condition of anonymity for fear they could be punished by the Chinese government.

They said Konchok, a teenage monk, tried to set himself on fire on September 26 at the Kirti Monastery in Sichuan province's Aba prefecture.

The shaky video shows a partially clothed man lying face down on a street, his feet and lower calves black and smoking. A woman screaming in Tibetan can be heard in the background.

A police car and several uniformed People's Armed Police are visible behind the man and one approaches the camera at the end of the video and says 'No filming' in Mandarin.

Chinese state media confirmed at the time that Lobsang and a second monk who both tried to self-immolate but were rescued by police, suffered slight burns and were in stable condition after the incident.

Security surrounding Aba is tight, and police at checkpoints on roads surrounding monasteries are carefully monitoring foreign journalists.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry has condemned the immolations and criticised the Dalai Lama for allegedly inciting them.

Hong Lei, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman told reporters that the immolations were caused by separatists.

"Refusing to denounce the self-immolations, goes against the morality code for mankind, and instead they are publicising these events, and inciting further immolations," he said.

In India, police overpowered a young Tibetan exile who set himself on fire outside the Chinese Embassy on Friday in solidarity with Tibetans who self-immolated in China. Police grabbed 25-year-old Sherab TseDor and put out the fire engulfing his trousers.

The man suffered minor burns, according to a police officer who spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorised to talk to reporters.


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