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11th Tibetan immolates self over Chinese rule

Police overpowered a young Tibetan exile who set himself on fire outside the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi on Friday in solidarity with Tibetans who self-immolated in China recently.

delhi Updated: Nov 04, 2011 22:53 IST

A Tibetan nun has burned herself to death in south-west China, Xinhua news agency said, the 11th ethnic Tibetan this year known to have set themselves on fire in a region that has become the centre of defiance against strict Chinese control.

Qiu Xiang, 35, set herself on fire at a road crossing in Dawu county of Ganzi, called Kandze by Tibetans, in Sichuan province, the state news agency said.

The nun was from the county’s Tongfoshan village, Xinhua said.

The report said it was unclear why she killed herself and the local government had launched an investigation.

Last week, a Tibetan Buddhist monk doused himself in fuel and set himself ablaze in Ganzi.

Most people in Ganzi and neighbouring Aba, the site of eight self-immolations, are ethnic Tibetan herders and farmers, and many see themselves as members of a wider Tibetan region encompassing the official Tibetan Autonomous Region and other areas across the highlands of China’s west.

China has ruled Tibet with an iron fist since Communist troops marched in in 1950. Tibet’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, fled nine years later after a failed uprising against Chinese rule.

The Dalai Lama, whom China condemns as a supporter of violent separatism, led hundreds of monks, nuns and lay Tibetans in prayer in his adopted homeland in India in late October to mourn those who have burned themselves to death.

The Chinese foreign ministry has said the Dalai Lama should take the blame for the burnings, and repeated Beijing’s line that Tibetans are free to practise their Buddhist faith.

First Published: Nov 04, 2011 14:14 IST