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Tibetan Self-Immolator Dies in China's Sichuan Province

Thinley Namgyal, date unknown
Another Tibetan has set himself on fire in China's Sichuan province, becoming the 131st to self-immolate in protest since 2009.

Tawu Lobsang Jinpa, a Tibetan exile in Dharamsala, India, tells VOA's Tibetan service that 32-year-old Thinley Namgyal succumbed to his burns within minutes of setting himself on fire.

"Due to the remote locality of the incident, the Chinese authorities were not able to immediately confiscate his body, allowing the local residents to bring the body to Gongthal monastery. [The body] was later returned to his home," said Jinpa.

Thinley Namgyal is the fourth to self-immolate in Sichuan's Tawu County, an historically Tibetan area. Due to the previous self-immolations, the area has been under heightened security and restrictions.

It is not clear why Thinley Namgyal set himself on fire, but most self-immolators have used the act to call for the return of the Dalai Lama and freedom for Tibetans.

The Tibetan government in exile has urged Tibetans not to take such drastic action, and the U.S. government has called on China to resolve the Tibetan issue with the resumption of dialogue with the representatives of the Dalai Lama.

Beijing, which has not commented on the latest self-immolation, has labeled previous suicide protests as acts of terrorism.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Tibetan service.