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Tibetan teenager dies after setting himself on fire in protest at Chinese rule

Published 04/03/2016

Nyima Yangzom, mother of Dorje Tsering, cries as she leaves with the body of her son from the hospital in New Delhi (AP)
Nyima Yangzom, mother of Dorje Tsering, cries as she leaves with the body of her son from the hospital in New Delhi (AP)

A 16-year-old Tibetan living in India has died in hospital three days after he set himself on fire in a protest against Chinese rule.

The Tibetan suffered burns over 98% of his body and died late on Thursday, said Pankaj, an official at New Delhi's government-run Safdarjung hospital.

The teenager set himself on fire on Monday in the northern Indian city of Dehradun and was taken to New Delhi for treatment.

It was the second such protest this year, seen as an extreme expression of the anger and frustration felt by many Tibetans living under heavy-handed Chinese rule.

A Tibetan Buddhist monk died on Monday near the Retsokha monastery in western Sichuan province's traditional Tibetan autonomous prefecture of Kardze, Radio Free Asia reported. It said the monk called out for Tibetan independence while he burned, and died on the way to hospital in the provincial capital of Chengdu.

Tibetan exile sources say at least 114 monks and others have self-immolated over the past five years, with most of them dying. Radio Free Asia puts the number of self-immolations at 144 since 2009.

Tibetan monks and nuns are among the most active opponents of Chinese rule in the region and the strongest proponents of Tibet's independent identity, prompting the authorities to subject them to harsh and intrusive restrictions.

Beijing blames exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and others for inciting the immolations and says it has made vast investments to develop the region's economy and improve quality of life.

The Dalai Lama says he is against all violence. He fled Tibet to India in 1959 amid an abortive uprising against Chinese forces who had occupied the Himalayan region a decade earlier. He has been living in the northern Indian town of Dharamsala since then.

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