That a 20 year old Tibetan woman died after setting herself on fire, but suggested she may have done it as a result of depression caused by a head injury.
More than two dozen Tibetans have set themselves on fire in China over the last year to protest at what they say is China’s suppression of their religion and culture, and to demand the return of the exiled Dalai Lama.
Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, hosted South Africa’s Archbishop Desmond Tutu in the northern Indian city of Dharamsala, where Tutu made an impassioned plea to China to change its policies in Tibet.
China has confirmed some of the incidents, and says the Tibetan spiritual leader and groups outside the country are behind the protests and self immolations.
The immolations have set off a cycle of further repression that in turn has touched off large scale protests in recent weeks.
In the latest case, the official Xinhua news agency quoted local officials in Gansu province as saying that Tsering Kyi had been taken to hospital after hitting her head on a radiator, and had suffered fainting spells prior to setting herself on fire.
Xinhua said her academic grades had started to slip, “which put a lot of pressure on her and made her lose her courage for life and study”.
Tsering was one of three people reported by overseas Tibetan activist groups and a US based broadcaster to have set themselves on fire since the weekend.
On Monday, an 18 year old identified only as Dorje died after setting himself ablaze near a government office in Jia township, in Sichuan province’s Aba prefecture, according to Radio Free Asia.
The Washington based International Campaign for Tibet also reported Dorje’s death.
Local government and Communist party offices said they had received no notice of an immolation.
Radio Free Asia had also reported Tsering’s death, and that of a 32 year old woman with four young children who set herself on fire in Aba on Sunday.
Tibetan areas are mostly off limits to foreign media and it was not possible toconfirm the claims independently.
China’s annual legislative session, a time when security is tightened across the country, began on Monday.
March is also when Tibetans mark significant anniversaries, including that of the unsuccessful 1959 revolt that caused the Dalai Lama to flee, and deadly anti government riots that rocked the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, in 2008.
China says it treats minority groups such as Tibetans fairly, and pours tens of billions of dollars into improving living conditions in their areas.
The self proclaimed government in exile issued a statement from its base in Dharamshala, India, appealing to the Chinese government to address the grievances of Tibetans.
The Chinese government has acknowledged killing one Tibetan it called a “rioter,” and says the protests are being carefully planned by specially trained “mobs” who have used violence against police.
Kalon Dicki Chhoyang, of the Department of Information & International Relations of the Central Tibetan Administration, said in an emailed statement: “We also appeal to the governments and the international community to make urgent representations to the Chinese government to end the tragic cycle of self immolation in Tibet by adopting liberal polices in Tibet.
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