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Tibetan dies in first self-immolation in Lhasa.

BEIJING, May 28 Kyodo

A Tibetan has died and another is seriously injured after the first case of self-immolation in Lhasa, the capital of China's Tibetan Autonomous Region, state media reported Monday.

Tobgye Tseten, from a Tibetan community in Xiahe County in China's northwest Gansu Province, died after he and another set fire to themselves in central Lhasa at 2:16 p.m. Sunday, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

The condition of the other Tibetan, Dargye, from Aba County in southwest Sichuan Province, has stabilized and he is able to talk, the report said, without confirming earlier international media reports identifying the two as young monks.

U.S.-based broadcaster Radio Free Asia quoted unidentified sources in Lhasa saying the two set themselves on fire in front of Jokhang Temple, a major centre for Tibetan pilgrims and tourists, before security forces bundled them away within 15 minutes.

The self-immolations protesting Beijing's rule are the second in the Tibetan Autonomous Region, while there have been 35 similar incidents in other Chinese provinces that are home to ethnic Tibetan communities, the report said.

Qiangba Puncog, a chairman of the Tibetan Autonomous Region's People's Congress, told Xinhua more than 20 Tibetans, mostly current or former monks and nuns, have died throughout the country after setting fire to themselves since March 2011.

The self-immolations at one of Lhasa's major cultural spots come as Tibetans from across China flock to the Tibetan capital to mark the Buddhist month of Saka Dawa commemorating the birth, enlightenment, and death of Buddha.

Beijing blames the Dalai Lama for instigating the continuing spate of protests against China's rule, but the Tibetan spiritual leader, living in exile in India, says he has only advocated autonomy.
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Publication:Asian Economic News
Geographic Code:9CHIN
Date:May 29, 2012
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