Two Men Self-Immolate in Tibetan Capital

Posted May 28th, 2012 at 1:05 am (UTC-5)
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Two young men have set themselves on fire in the Tibetan city of Lhasa Sunday afternoon, the first self-immolation protests to take place in the heavily guarded capital.

Witnesses told VOA's Tibetan Service that security forces with fire-fighting equipment arrived at the Jokhang temple quickly, extinguished the fires and took the two men away. China's Xinhua news agency says one man died at the scene, and the other is in serious condition.

This is the second self-immolation incident to have occurred in the Tibet Autonomous region. The others have occurred in Tibetan-populated areas of southwestern China.

Dozens of Tibetans have now set themselves on fire since 2009 to protest China's policies in Tibet. The vast majority of incidents have taken place since March of last year to protest what Tibetans say is repression by China, which denies the accusations. Self-immolators often call for the freedom of Tibet and for the return of the Dalai Lama, who lives in exile in India.

The latest protest came as China has once again banned Tibetans from engaging in religious activities, particularly during the sacred Buddhist month of Saka Dawa, which began on May 21. Saka Dawa commemorates Buddha's birth, enlightenment and death.