News / Asia

2 More Tibetans Dead After Fiery Anti-China Protests

VOA News
The death toll in Chinese-ruled Tibet is rising after two more Tibetans set themselves on fire to protest China's policies.

VOA Tibetan said Nyingkar Tashi, 24, set himself on fire in front of a school in a town in Rebkong, an area called Tongren by the Chinese. Witnesses said he called for the return of the Dalai Lama and freedom for Tibet before he died.

A second man, Nyangchak Bhum, 18, set himself on fire and died several hours later in front of Chinese government offices in Dowa, also in the Rebkong region.

Witnesses say in both cases large crowd gathered after the self-immolations to say prayers.

VOA's Tibetan service says there are also reports that China has dispatched more soldiers to the region from a nearby military base.

Monday's self-immolations bring the total since February 2009 to 72, with the last nine coming since just last week.  In 58 cases, the protesters have died.

During a visit to Japan earlier, Monday, the Dalai Lama said China needed to conduct a "serious investigation" into the self-immolations rather than just place the blame on him.

Last week in Beijing, the Chinese-appointed vice governor of Tibet blamed the Dalai Lama for many of the recent protests.

Lobsang Gyaincain said "external Tibetan forces and the Dalai [Dalai Lama] clique are sacrificing other people's lives to attain their secret political motives."  

The self-immolations coincide with China's 18th Party Congress in Beijing and the country's once-in-a-decade leadership transition.

China has long accused Tibetan exiles of self-immolating as part of a separatist struggle, denouncing them as terrorists.

Anger over Chinese rule in Tibet sparked new protests Monday in New Delhi.

Exiled Tibetans, with their faces painted in the red and yellow colors of the Tibetan flag, charged the Chinese embassy.

Several protesters were detained.

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