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Tibetan monk, 20, latest to self-immolate in China

March 28, 2012
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BEIJING—A 20-year-old Tibetan monk in western China has become the latest to set himself on fire in protest against the authoritarian government, Tibetan exiles said Thursday.

More than 30 people have self-immolated, or attempted to, over the past year in ethnic Tibetan areas of China to protest Beijing's heavy-handed rule. Activists say China's crackdown is so oppressive Tibetans have no other way to voice their protests.

A monk named Sherab who studied at the Kirti monastery in Aba county set himself ablaze Wednesday, exiled Tibetan monks Kanyag Tsering and Losang Yeshe said in a statement.

Sherab shouted slogans as he burned on the main street in his hometown of Jialuo, then died at the site, said the exiles who had belonged to the same monastery but now live in Dharmsala, India.

They said police removed Sherab's body to prevent local residents from taking it to hold a funeral.

Authorities have placed Aba county, a region of high-altitude valleys grazed by yaks on the Tibetan plateau, under a tight security clampdown after Tibetan communities across western China rose up in a 2008 rebellion that was quashed by massive force.

Beijing has blamed the Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, who has lived in exile in India for decades, for inciting the self-immolations, and has called the protesters' actions a form of terrorism.

The Tibetan self-declared government-in-exile has rejected the Chinese government's accusations and issued statements discouraging self-immolation.

A Tibetan exile who set himself on fire in India earlier this week to protest a visit by China's president died Wednesday.

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