Two Tibetan Monks Self-Immolate in Anti-china Protest

Posted September 26th, 2011 at 1:25 pm (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Witnesses say two Tibetan monks in southwestern China have set themselves on fire, in an apparent anti-Beijing protest at a monastery where a young Tibetan Buddhist died after self-immolating earlier this year.

The Tibetan exile network Free Tibet said the monks from the Kirti monastery called for religious freedom and shouted “long live the Dalai Lama” before setting themselves ablaze. Media reports say one of the monks died, with the other in critical condition late Monday.

The Tibetan website Phayul said one of the monks is the brother of a young Buddhist who died after setting himself on fire at the monastery in March. That protest marked the third anniversary of anti-China unrest and a Chinese crackdown in the same area.

Official Chinese media have not reported on Monday's protests, which came as Beijing continued efforts to undermine the authority of the widely-revered Dalai Lama. A foreign Ministry spokesman in Beijing told reporters Beijing does not recognize the Nobel laureate's authority to choose who will succeed him and said Beijing will make that decision.

In a statement Saturday, the 76-year-old Dalai Lama said he will decide when he nears age 90 on whether the “institution of the Dalai Lama” should continue. He said he will consult with the high lamas of Tibetan Buddhist traditions, the Tibetan public and others before deciding.

Tibet's government-in-exile has operated from northern India since 1959, when the Dalai Lama fled Tibet after a failed uprising against Chinese rule.

China has often accused him and his followers of advocating for Tibetan secession, despite repeated assurances from the Dalai Lama that he is seeking dialogue with Beijing aimed at establishing Tibetan autonomy.

Tensions have bristled in eastern Tibet since the March protest and the later disappearance of some 300 monks whom witnesses said were rounded up by authorities and taken to undisclosed locations. Beijing acknowledged the disappearances in June, saying the detained monks were undergoing “legal education.”