BEIJING, Aug. 16 (UPI) — A 29-year-old Tibetan Buddhist monk died after setting himself on fire in China to protest Chinese rule in Tibet, the Free Tibet advocacy group said.
The incident, also reported by China’s official Xinhua news agency, occurred Monday in southwest China’s Sichuan Province, the second self-immolation incident in five months, which The New York Times said pointed to Tibetans’ resistance to Chinese crack down of those supporting the exiled Dalai Lama, who fled to India after the failed 1959 Tibetan uprising.
Free Tibet, based in London, said the monk, identified as Tsewang Norbu, immolated himself on a bridge in the center of Daofu town, the report said. The region has a large Tibetan population.
Phayul.com, the exiled Tibetans’ Web portal, quoting a blogger and Free Tibet, reported Norbu began his protest by raising banners containing slogans calling for freedom in Tibet and the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet. Later, the report said, he drank and doused himself with gasoline and set himself on fire.
Monks from Norbu’s monastery reportedly took away his body to prepare for his last rites.
Norbu reportedly took the extreme step to protest China’s growing restrictions on religious freedom and the intensification of political indoctrination in Tibet.
Norbu’s death comes in the wake of the March 16 immolation by another monk, the Times said.
Following the March 16 incident, Chinese treatment of Tibetans became harsher — including a ban on celebration of the July 6 birthday of the Dalai Lama.