Twentieth Tibetan sets himself on fire, reports say

A Tibetan is reported to have set himself on fire in south-west China, the 20th such case in the past year. The man, believed to be a monk, set himself on fire in Aba prefecture in Sichuan province on Wednesday, rights groups said.

He was reportedly taken away by police and his current condition is unknown. The incident follows a series of deadly protests against Chinese rule in the province since January.

The self-immolation was reported by various rights groups, as well as the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) in Dharamsala, India, the base of Tibet's government-in-exile.

Tsering Tsomo, executive director of TCHRD, told Reuters news agency that the incident occurred outside a school. Two exiled Buddhist monks, Kanyag Tsering and Losang Yeshe, were also quoted by various sources as saying that the man was taken away by security forces, with his current whereabouts unknown.

Aba county, an ethnic Tibetan area of Sichuan province, is where several of the self-immolations have occurred.


Last month, three violent protests were also reported in the province. Chinese state media has described the protests as mob attacks and riots, while activists say police have opened fire on peaceful protesters demonstrating against religious repression.

International media are denied access to the area, making it difficult to verify conflict accounts. Correspondents say the recent violence in the region is the most serious outbreak of anti-government protest among Tibetans in nearly four years.

On Monday, the regional government warned its officials to maintain stability or face dismissal or criminal charges ahead of the Tibetan new year on 22 February.

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