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Group says Chinese police clubbed burning Tibetan
Agence France Presse - January 19, 2012
Losang Jamyang set himself on fire on Saturday in Sichuan province, rights groups and the Tibetan government-in-exile said, making him the 16th Tibetan to do so in less than a year to protest against perceived repression.
Citing new information uncovered by exiled Tibetan sources who spoke to locals in Aba county, where the incident occurred, the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) said the twenty-something Tibetan was a former monk.
"He doused himself in petrol and set himself on fire. He walked into the street calling for the long life of the Dalai Lama and for freedom in Tibet," the US-based advocacy group said in a statement.
"Police began to kick and beat him with clubs spiked with nails rather than immediately focusing on putting out the flames.
"Unable to bear this sight, local Tibetans on the scene stood up to the armed security personnel... and shouting that the body should be handed over to them, tried their best to block their path as they tried to take him away."
A spokesman for the government in Aba, surnamed Wang, denied the accounts. "What you read is a false report," he said, but refused to give further details. Calls to Aba police went unanswered.
According to ICT, police responded by detaining and beating Tibetans, leaving one woman in critical condition and another blinded in one eye. Police then opened fire and two women were wounded when they were shot, the group said.
Since last March, when a monk self-immolated in Aba, 16 Tibetans have set fire to themselves – most of them young monks and many near the restive Kirti monastery in Aba.
Many Tibetans in China complain of religious repression and say their culture is being eroded by an influx of majority Han Chinese people in the areas they live in.
But Beijing denies it uses repressive methods against Tibetans, insisting they enjoy freedom of religious belief and that huge ongoing investment into Tibetan-inhabited areas has greatly raised their standard of living.
It blames the Dalai Lama – who fled Tibet following a failed uprising against Chinese rule in 1959 and is vilified as a "separatist" by Communist authorities – for much of the unrest in Tibetan-inhabited regions.