Reports: Tibetan monk sets himself on fire in western China

Reports: Tibetan monk sets himself on fire in western China

BEIJING — A Tibetan Buddhist monk set himself on fire in western China in apparent protest against Beijing’s rule over the restive region, a monitoring group and a U.S. government-backed radio station said.

The monk set himself ablaze in a public square on Saturday morning in Kardze, also known as Ganzi, in western Sichuan province, according to Radio Free Asia and Free Tibet, an advocacy group based in Britain.

The unidentified monk was taken away after the fire was extinguished by security forces, reports said. A witness said the man was burned beyond recognition and it was unclear if he survived, according to Free Tibet Director Eleanor Byrne-Rosengren.

A man who answered the phone at the local police station Monday said he was unaware of the case and “not clear” about the situation. The government for Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, which includes the town of Kardze, referred questions to police.

A YouTube video showed two men spraying fire extinguishers on what appeared to be a body at the edge of a busy street as a crowd gathered. Free Tibet acquired the video from a witness who posted it on social media, according to the group.

If confirmed, it would be at least the 148th recorded case of a Tibetan self-immolating since 2009, according to Radio Free Asia and Free Tibet. At least 125 have died, according to monitoring groups.

China claims Tibet has been part of its territory for more than seven centuries and regards the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled Buddhist leader, as a dangerous separatist. Many Tibetans insist they were essentially independent for most of that time and have protested what they regard as China’s heavy-handed rule.

Before lighting themselves on fire, many have cried out for Tibetan independence or prayed for the return of the Dalai Lama, who fled Tibet to India in 1959 during an abortive uprising, witnesses have been quoted as saying. Chinese forces have occupied the Himalayan region since 1950.

“While I keep hoping every one will be the last one, I suspect they will continue as long as the repression continues,” Byrne-Rosengren said.

Chinese officials last week lashed out at India for hosting the Dalai Lama near their disputed border and said that, by allowing the Tibetan spiritual leader’s visit, India was violating its commitment to respect China’s claims to the region.

The Dalai Lama has said he simply wants a higher degree of autonomy for Tibet under Chinese rule. He said in an interview last month shown on HBO that “self-killing” through immolation is not good from a Buddhist viewpoint, but he could not openly condemn it out of respect to surviving family members.

___

Follow Matthew Brown on Twitter at https://twitter.com/matthewbrownap

Matthew Brown, The Associated Press

Just Posted

Mayor: cities need more financial flexibility

Lefebvre tells Chamber audience Constitutional Act is ‘archaic’

VIDEO: Orcas put on a show near Hornby Island

Louis Jobodin shares photos and video of his experience

Passengers bound for Victoria say Sunwing left them stranded in Abbotsford

Company says late arrival led to difficulties securing accommodation, transportation

Island-filmed TV series gets third season

Crews returning to Parksville Qualicum Beach to film in the spring

Ladysmith marijuana producer bought by Aphria in $230M deal

Ontario licensed marijuana producer Aphria has reached an agreement to acquire Ladysmith-based… Continue reading

Views in The NEWS, Jan. 16

We asked: What is a necessity for you on a camping trip?

Did you get Hitched in Courtenay on Sunday?

The first annual wedding show saw big crowds and included two fashion shows

Body discovered in burnt out car near Trail

Police report a body was found in the burnt out trunk of a 1999 Honda Civic

VIDEO: B.C. Lions sign defensive back T.J. Lee to contract for upcoming season

The four-year veteran had a team-high four interceptions and 49 tackles last season with B.C.

How an immigrant to Canada helped Donald Trump prove his mental health

Test that cleared Trump was developed by doctor associated with McGill and Sherbrooke universities

Premier touches on multiple topics ahead of Asia trade trip

Housing and childcare are expected to be the focus of the BC NDP’s first budget in February.

Lost bible returned to owner’s family in Alberta

Bible had been found in desk drawer at Parksville Visitor Centre

UPDATE: Police continue to seek missing Qualicum Beach woman

Oceanside RCMP requesting public assistance in locating Carmel Georgina Gilmour

UPDATE: Friends mourn boy, 15, killed in Vancouver shooting

John Horgan: ‘No stone is to be left unturned until we find the perpetrator of this heinous crime’

Most Read