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Tibetan monk dies in self-immolation protest over Chinese rule

Today’s incident is the second reported self-immolation protest by a monk in Tibet this year.

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, centre left, greets a monk as he arrives to attend  an event in India last summer.
Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, centre left, greets a monk as he arrives to attend an event in India last summer.
Image: AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi

A 29-YEAR-OLD Tibetan monk set himself on fire earlier today in an ethnically-Tibetan region of western China to protest the exile of Buddhist leader the Dalai Lama.

The London-based group Free Tibet said in a statement today that the monk, Tswang Norbu, died after he “drank petrol, sprayed himself with petrol and then set himself on fire”. It is understood that he died at the scene.

China’s official news agency Xinhua also reported the monk’s death today, but did not give further details on the incident.

Free Tibet said he called for Tibetan freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama from exile. The group says that Chinese authorities shut down local internet cafés and interfered with phone lines in an effort to stifle news of the incident.

It also claims that monks’ water and electricity supplies were cut after thousands of Tibetans defied a ban and celebrated the Dalai Lama’s birthday last month.

Chinese authorities deployed troops to Ngaba in Tibet six months ago after a 21-year-old monk set himself on fire in protest over Chinese rule in Tibet and died from his injuries. A number of monks were reportedly detained by authorities following the incident.

Earlier this month, Harvard-educated Lobsang Sangay was sworn in as the new head of the exiled Tibetan government. He is the first to take control from the Dalai Lama, who announced in March that he would give up his political role. Tibet’s government-in-exile resides in Dharamsala, India.

- Additional reporting by the AP

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