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Nun dies in 11th self-immolation among Tibetans

November 3, 2011

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BEIJING—A Buddhist nun died after setting herself on fire Thursday, Chinese state media reported, in the 11th case of self-immolation among Tibetans in western China in recent months.

The official Xinhua News Agency said it was unclear why the woman, about 35 years old and identified as Qiu Xiang, killed herself along a road in Sichuan province's Garze prefecture.

But the nine other men and one women who have set themselves on fire since March were seen as having acted in protest to Chinese restrictions on the Tibetan religion and culture.

Xinhua said the local government was investigating the latest case. Phone calls to Garze authorities rang unanswered Thursday evening.

Although there is no tradition of self-immolation as a form of protest in Tibetan society, the suicides are seen as a sign of growing desperation in the ethnically Tibetan region, where tensions have been running high since massive anti-government protests in 2008.

Most ignited the flames while calling for Tibetan freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama, who fled to India amid an abortive uprising against Chinese rule in 1959. Aged in their late teens and twenties, at least six died of their injuries, while the condition of the others is not known.

(This version Corrects to say in 3rd paragraph only one other woman self-immolated since March.)

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