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November 04, 2012

Activists say Tibetan Artist Sets Himself on Fire in China

by VOA News

A Tibetan artist has died after setting himself on fire in the latest self-immolation to protest Chinese rule, and residents are said to be afraid to leave their homes because large numbers of security forces are in the area.

The Tibetan government-in-exile and activist groups said the man set fire to himself Sunday in Tongren, a monastery town in western China's Qinghai province.

The London-based Free Tibet identified the dead person as Dorje Lungdup, 25, a father of two children.  The U.S.-based International Campaign for Tibet used a different spelling -Dorjee Lhundrup- for the man's name.

Many Tibetans in China accuse the government of repressing their religion and undermining their culture, as China's majority Han ethnic group increasingly relocates into historically Tibetan areas.  Dozens of ethnic Tibetans have set themselves on fire since March 2011 and many have called for the return of the Dalai Lama.  The Tibetan exile government is based in Dharamsala, India.

China says Tibetans enjoy religious freedom as well as improved standards of living thanks to government investment.