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Another Tibetan Monk Dies in Self-Immolation

Another Tibetan monk has died after setting himself on fire in an anti-China protest, a day after some U.S. senators approved a resolution saying they mourn the Tibetans who have died in such self-immolations.

VOA's Tibetan service reports a 20-year-old monk named Lobsang Sherab set himself on fire Wednesday in the main street of Cha township in southwestern China's Sichuan province. The report says armed police and other security forces forcibly removed the body and imposed a security clampdown on the township.

Sherab was a member of the Kirti monastery, where anti-China sentiment runs high. Some 300 Chinese officials are reported stationed at the monastery, and security is high throughout the area.

Wednesday's death was the 20th in the past year among Tibetan monks, nuns, and supporters protesting Chinese policy in the Tibetan region. At least 10 others have set themselves on fire without dying in the attempt.

China routinely refers to the protesters as trained "terrorists" and accuses the Dalai Lama of orchestrating the protests from his exile home in northern India.  Beijing also argues it has provided substantial funding to upgrade Tibetan infrastructure and improve living conditions in Tibetan regions.

On Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei responded to the U.S. Senate resolution, saying some U.S. Senators "confused right and wrong" in approving it in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  The U.S. resolution says the committee deplores "the repressive policies targeting Tibetans" and urges Beijing to "resume a dialogue with Tibetan Buddhist leaders, including  (Tibetan exiled spiritual leader) the Dalai Lama."

The Chinese spokesman said Beijing remains "committed to protecting both the legitimate rights of people of all nationalities and their freedom of religious belief."  Hong also repeated accusations that "some" U.S. lawmakers are using Tibet-related issues to interfere in China's internal affairs.

The Tibet resolution does not carry the weight of law and does not provide penalties for non-compliance.  But it urges U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to seek a full accounting from Beijing on its ongoing crackdown, particularly at the flashpoint Kirti monastery.

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