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Tibetan self-immolates, sparking clashes

Chinese security forces fired on crowd when it tried to reclaim the burned body, rights groups say.

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Tibetan protesters shout anti-Chinese slogans during a rally by the Tibetan people's solidarity movement near the Chinese embassy in New Delhi on November 23, 2011. (SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP/Getty Images)

Chinese security forces fired into a crowd of Tibetans on Saturday, after the crowd tried to reclaim the body of a Tibetan man who self-immolated in protest against Chinese policies in Tibet, according to The New York Times.

Two Tibet advocacy groups and the Tibetan government in exile have reported that at least two people have been hit by gunfire, and at least one might be dead.

Kate Saunders, of the International Campaign for Tibet, told the BBC, “According to at least two or three sources, a Tibetan layperson set themselves on fire this morning in Ngaba town. As police put out the flames, they beat him severely.”

The shooting started when Tibetan locals tried to recover the body.

There have been many reports of self-immolations in southwest China recently, and the latest one happened in Aba, in the Sichuan province. Aba, known as Ngaba in Tibetan, was the focal point in the 2008 uprising.

More on GlobalPost: Body of self-immolated Tibetan monk 'publicly paraded' in China

The BBC puts the number of Tibetan self-immolations over the past year at 16, and the Associated Press confirms that four happened in just the past week. Many of the monks who self-immolated came from Kirti monastery, and the Chinese government has blamed the Dalai Lama and his supporters for encouraging such acts.

The Dalai Lama has expressed concern over the rash of self-immolations and blamed the “cultural genocide” of Tibetans as the cause.

More on GlobalPost: China: Dalai Lama encourages suicide, says paper

The Tibetan government in exile said on its website, “The People’s Republic of China’s government must take full responsibility for these cases of self-immolation. It is within its power to end these unfortunate incidents by adopting liberal policies for Tibet and Tibetan people.” 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/china/120114/tibetan-self-immolates-sparking-clashes