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

Midwives open practice in Salmon Arm

New practitioners will deliver babies in home or hospital

Site C dam goes ahead, cost estimate now up to $10.7 billion

Premier John Horgan says Christy Clark left him no other choice

Merry lottery win for Shuswap man

Five-dollar scratch ticket a $100,000 winner for Sicamous resident

Updated: Wilkie fourth in two events at world cup

A fourth place finish in Canmore for the local cross-country skier.

Vipers down Silverbacks

Vernon goes into Salmon Arm and wins 3-1 in B.C. Hockey League action Friday

Crook’s Corner

A slice of this week’s arts and entertainment happenings in the North Okanagan at a glance

Liberal Hogg wins South Surrey-White Rock byelection over Conservative Findlay

B.C. riding to be represented by non-conservative for first time in decades

Students host dance showcase

Salmon Arm Secondary puts on winter recital Dec. 18 to 20

Writing her way to recovery

Shuswap author finds healing and well-being by writing

Six-year-old boy needs $19,000 a month to treat rare form of arthritis

Mother of sick Sooke boy asks government to help fund treatments

Environmental groups slam NDP decision to continue with Site C

Construction industry, meanwhile, is cautiously optimistic about how the project will look

Be ladder safe both at work and home

WorkSafeBC wants you to keep safe while hanging those Christmas lights this year

B.C. overdose deaths surpass 1,200

96 people died of illicit drug overdoses in October

Crown appeals stay against Jamie Bacon in Surrey Six killings

B.C.’s prosecution service says judge’s decision reveals ‘errors of law’

Most Read