Challenge to China: Another Monk Sets Self on Fire

It's the 12th self-immolation in Tibet since March
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 2, 2011 12:04 PM CST
Exile Tibetans in Dharmsala, India, carry portraits of Palden Choetso, a Buddhist nun who they claim died after immolating herself in the Kham Tawo region in eastern Tibet last month.   (AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia)

(Newser) – The most salient detail in a Washington Post article about the rising number of self-immolations among Tibetan monks and nuns: Chinese troops in the region are now carrying fire extinguishers as part of their regular riot-control gear. It's become necessary because 12 men and women have set themselves on fire since March, the latest coming yesterday when a former monk did so in the Chinese-ruled autonomous region. (He survived, but at least half of the others did not.)

“Some senior monks think the death of those young monks is valuable,” one monk tells the Post. "It might force the government to change its policy." China, for its part, blames the exiled Dalai Lama and accuses him of encouraging his followers to kill themselves. The Dalai Lama says he and Tibetans remain committed to non-violent protest, and he calls the deaths the result of "cultural genocide" under Chinese rule.

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