Tibetan activist who set himself alight in India dies

By Paul Armstrong,CNN: The Tibetan protester who set himself alight in the Indian capital ahead of Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit this week has died.

The 27-year-old man was admitted to hospital in New Delhi Monday with 90% burns to his body, but doctors could not save him and he died on Wednesday, said L.K. Makhija, the head of the burns ward at the Ram Manohar Lohia hospital.

Dramatic pictures showed the man, named by the London-based Free Tibet group as Jampa Yeshi, running along the street in flames as hundreds of protesters gathered outside the Indian parliament to protest against Chinese rule in Tibet. Many ethnic Tibetans fled Tibet for India with the Dalai Lama in 1959 after a failed uprising.

President Hu was due to arrive in India for Thursday's BRICS summit of emerging economic powers, which includes India, China, Brazil, Russia and South Africa.

Self-immolation is a common form of protest for Tibetans who want genuine autonomy from China and accuse Beijing of repression.

More than 30 of them took place in the last year in China, Tibetan advocacy groups say.

They follow an increase in security measures by the Chinese authorities in response to unrest among Tibetans in western areas of China in recent months.

Some in Tibet have advocated independence from China. But the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan
spiritual leader, and others have said they favor genuine autonomy and resent the slow erosion of their culture amid an influx of Han Chinese, the most numerous ethnic group in China.

Activists say the disturbing acts of self-immolation reflect an increasingly repressive environment under China's control.

Beijing rejects accusations of oppression of Tibetans, saying that under its rule, living standards have greatly improved for the Tibetan people.

Chinese officials have described the self-immolations as "extreme" acts.

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