A Tibetan man has died after setting himself on fire near a Buddhist monastery in northwest China in the latest self-immolation protest against Beijing’s hardline rule, a rights group said.
Lhamo Kyeb ran towards the monastery in China’s Gansu province after setting himself ablaze on Saturday, the London-based Free Tibet group said.
Citing an eyewitness, the group said security forces rushed to put out the flames, but the 27-year-old man was said to have resisted their efforts.
He shouted slogans calling for the return of exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and eventually fell to the ground and died.
Nearly 60 ethnic Tibetans, many of them monks and nuns, have set themselves on fire in the area since February 2009 to protest against Beijing’s rule, according to Free Tibet.
Calls to local government authorities as well as Labrang Monastery, one of the largest Buddhist temples outside Tibet, went unanswered on Sunday morning.
Many Tibetans in China accuse the government of enacting religious repression and eroding their culture, as the country’s majority Han ethnic group increasingly moves into historically Tibetan areas.
China rejects this, saying Tibetans enjoy religious freedom. Beijing points to huge ongoing investment it says has brought modernisation and a better standard of living to Tibet.
The prime minister of Tibet’s government-in-exile has called on the international community to resist growing pressure from China and stand up for human rights in his homeland.