News / Asia

Tibetan Nun Self-Immolates in Apparent Anti-China Protest

Tibet self-immolations, updated June 11, 2013
Tibet self-immolations, updated June 11, 2013
VOA News
Witnesses say a Tibetan Buddhist nun has set herself on fire in China's southwestern Sichuan province, in an apparent protest against China's policies in Tibet.

Sources tell VOA's Tibetan service that the unidentified nun self-immolated Tuesday afternoon near a monastery in the Tawu district.  Her condition was not immediately known, as Chinese security personnel took her to a nearby hospital.  Sources say all communications to and from the district have been blocked and travel restrictions have been imposed.

The self-immolation is the 119th in the vast Tibetan region since early 2009, when anti-China protesters - most of them monks and nuns - began setting themselves on fire to protest what locals describe as Chinese interference in Tibetan customs and religious practices.  Protesters have also sought to bring attention to demands for the return of their exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

Chinese authorities have responded with security crackdowns in flashpoint areas.  

Authorities have criminalized the self-immolation protests and local courts have imprisoned scores of people for their alleged roles in supporting the protests.

U.S. congressional leaders have urged Tibetans to refrain from such protests, and the Dalai Lama recently told Indian television he is saddened by the rising number of such deaths.  He attributed the self-immolation spike to the stresses of living in "constant fear" of Chinese authorities.

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