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Protester sets himself on fire

A man in his early 20s has become the fifth Tibetan in a week to set himself on fire and die in a county in far-western China to protest against Chinese rule, the self-declared Tibetan government-in-exile says.

Tsepag Kyab, 21, set himself on fire on Friday evening at a bus station in Amuquhu town in Xiahe county, the Central Tibetan Administration said.

A separate report by the London-based rights group Free Tibet identified the man as 23-year-old Tsewang Kyab. It said Tsepag is likely to be his formal name while Tsewang was the name used by family and friends, and that the group relies on its sources for the man's age.

Earlier on Friday, a 24-year-old Tibetan farmer, Lhamo Tseten, died from self-immolation near a military base and a government office in Amuquhu, the group said. China's official Xinhua News Agency reported the self-immolation of a Tibetan man by the same name, though it gave slightly different details. Xinhua said Mr Lhamo was a 23-year-old villager and that he set himself on fire near a hospital.

In the past week in Xiahe county, which is in Gansu province, a herdsman, a farmer and a man in his late 20s also died after setting themselves on fire.

Dozens of ethnic Tibetans have set themselves on fire in heavily Tibetan regions since March 2011 to protest what activists say is Beijing's heavy-handed rule in the region. Many have called for the return of the Dalai Lama, their exiled spiritual leader.

Xiahe is home to Labrang Monastery, one of the most important outside of Tibet and the site of numerous protests by monks following deadly ethnic violence in Tibet in 2008 that was the most sustained Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule in decades.


From Belfast Telegraph