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EU Concerned About Tibetan Self-Immolations in China

In this handout photo released by The International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) on December 7, 2012, paramilitary policemen are seen closing in on Dorje Rinchen's body after his self-immolation, in Xiahe, Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu province, October 23, 2012.
The European Union's foreign policy chief says the EU is "profoundly saddened" by the increasing number of Tibetans committing self-immolations.

The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton says the EU is concerned China's restrictive policies in Tibet have resulted in growing discontent in the region.

In a statement released Friday, Ashton urged Tibetans to refrain from extreme forms of protest and called on China to address the "deep-rooted causes of frustration" among Tibetans. Ashton said China should ensure the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Tibetan people, including their rights to enjoy their culture, practice their religion and use their language.

At least 92 Tibetans have set themselves on fire in western China since 2009, with 28 cases reported in November alone. The acceleration has coincided with several anti-China rallies and a corresponding security crackdown.

China says Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, and his supporters are inciting the immolations, allegedly to press for lifting China's control over Tibet.

From his exile home in India, the Dalai Lama has denied any involvement in the immolations. He has said repeatedly he is not pushing for Tibetan independence, but for greater autonomy.

China views Tibet as a non-negotiable part of its territory.