Tibet has seen at least 34 self-immolations since March of last year—but two incidents yesterday were the first to occur in the region's capital. Two men set themselves on fire in a busy area of Lhasa in a protest against Chinese rule; police put out the flames within minutes, according to Chinese state news. One died, while the other was gravely wounded, Reuters reports.
The self-immolations are "all aimed at separating Tibet from China," says an official quoted by Xinhua. China has labeled the perpetrators "terrorists." Now, Lhasa is "filled with police and paramilitary forces," according to Radio Free Asia. The situation points to a spreading movement, says an expert, and "could lead to an increased severity of restrictions and controls" by China. A major Chinese microblogging site today had blocked searches for "Jokhang Temple," near which the self-immolations occurred.