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Tibetan Man Sets Himself on Fire in Protest Over China

VOA: A Tibetan man has set himself on fire in eastern Tibet, in the latest gesture of defiance used by Tibetans to protest Chinese government policies.

Witnesses told VOA Tibetan Service that 44-year-old Sonam Dhargyal set himself on fire early Saturday in the Rebkong region of Tibet. The incident follows another self-immolation protest earlier in the week by a monk in southwestern China’s Sichuan province, where many Tibetans live.

March has long been a tense time for China and its Tibetan areas, as the month marks key anniversaries in the Tibetan struggle for more freedom.

The last year has been especially problematic for Chinese authorities, as dozens of monks, nuns and ordinary people have set themselves on fire in protest. More than half of those self-immolations have occurred since January, despite beefed up security in parts of China where there are large Tibetan populations.

China blames overseas groups and Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, for inciting separatism. It has also portrayed those who have set themselves on fire as outcasts and criminals.

Published Date: Sunday, March 18th, 2012 | 03:27 AM

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