Tibetan farmer sets himself on fire
on 24/10/2012 08:40:00
The monastery in Gansu province's Xiahe county is one of the most important outside Tibet and was the site of numerous protests by monks following deadly ethnic riots in Tibet in 2008.
Dorje Rinchen, a farmer in his late 50s, set himself on fire in front of a market on the main street in Xiahe and died later, the Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet said.
The group sent a photo apparently showing Mr Dorje wrapped in blankets after the self-immolation, his neck and head badly charred and swollen. It was not clear whether he was still alive when the blurry, poorly lit picture was taken.
Two other photos obtained by the London-based Free Tibet group showed his body engulfed in flames.
The International Campaign for Tibet quoted a Tibetan from Xiahe who lives in exile as saying Mr Dorje had counselled young Tibetans not to self-immolate.
Free Tibet said the incident occurred in front of the Xiahe Public Security Bureau, the day after a Tibetan herdsman died after setting himself on fire near the monastery.
Dozens of Tibetans have set themselves on fire since March last year in ethnic Tibetan areas of China in protest over what activists say is Beijing's heavy-handed rule in the region. Many have called for the return of their spiritual leader, the exiled Dalai Lama.
Chinese authorities routinely deny Tibetan claims of repression and have accused supporters of the Dalai Lama of encouraging the self-immolations.
The Dalai Lama and representatives of the self-declared Tibetan government-in-exile in India say they oppose all violence.