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China: Man sets fire to himself in Tiananmen Square

New photos have emerged that show a Chinese man setting fire to himself in Beijing's Tiananmen Square last month.

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Visitors have their photos taken in Tiananmen Square in Beijing on August 17, 2011. (Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images)

A man set fire to himself in Tiananmen Square in Beijing last month in a dramatic incident that was not reported until now, the Telegraph reported.

The moment was captured by a British tourist who took this photo on October 21.

The Beijing Public Security Bureau confirmed the incident after being shown the pictures, the Telegraph said.

According to the authorities' statement:

[A man named] Wang walked to the spot near Jinshui bridge, and suddenly set his clothes on fire. The policemen at the scene extinguished the fire within ten seconds and sent the man to hospital for treatment.

He has now pulled through. After investigation, Wang (male, 42, resident of Huanggang city, Hubei province) took the extreme action because of discontent over the outcome of a civil litigation in a local court.

The British man who witnessed the incident, Alan Brown, said several other people were present at the time, many of them with cameras - and yet no mention seems to have been made of the protest either in Chinese media or on the internet.

More from GlobalPost: Tibetan exile in India self-immolates outside Chinese embassy

It is the first known self-immolation in the politically sensitive Tiananmen Square since five people set themselves on fire there in 2001 to protest against the treatment of members of the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement.

Today the site is heavily guarded by plain-clothes police officers watching for any attempted protests, the Telegraph said.

The photos emerged on the same day that Chinese media reported an elderly woman set herself on fire two weeks ago in protest at the demolition of her house.

Wang Liushi, 81, died after self-immolating on November 3 as local officials attempted to seize her family’s house in central Henan province, the Associated Press reported.

There have recently been a spate of self-immolations against China's policy in Tibet, many of them involving Tibetan monks and nuns.

More from GlobalPost: Self-immolations spread from Tibet to the diaspora