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Tibetan nun self-immolates in eastern Tibet - toll now 130

March 31, 2014

March 29, 2014 - A Tibetan nun set herself on fire on Saturday in protest against Chinese rule in a Tibetan county in Sichuan province, triggering heightened security measures, according to a lawmaker in the Tibetan administration in exile.

The nun, whose identity and age were not immediately available, self-immolated in a monastery in Bathang (in Chinese, Batang) county in the Kardze (Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, said Kalsang Gyaltsen, an MP in the Central Tibetan Administration based in India's northern Dharamsala hill town.

"She set fire to herself at about 3 p.m. while circumambulating the Bachoede monastery in Bathang," Gyaltsen told RFA's Tibetan Service, citing contacts in his native county. "The Tibetans who were at the scene intervened and put out the fire, and sent her to the hospital."

"I verified from different sources and it is certain that the self-immolation took place," he said.

It was not immediately clear whether the nun was from the Bachoede monastery although some sources said her home town was Drupa township in Markham (Mangkang) county in the Tibet Autonomous Region.

"Some reported that the nun was from Lingka Shipa township under Bathang county while some said she is a nun of Bachoede monastery," Gyaltsen said.

She self-immolated to highlight Tibetan opposition to Chinese rule in Tibetan-populated areas, sources said.

Police in monastery

Chinese police have rushed to the monastery and imposed various restrictions in the area that disrupted communication links, the sources said.

Police have also barred family and friends from visiting the nun at a local hospital, a Tibetan source told RFA.

The nun's burning was the 130th Tibetan self-immolation in China since the fiery protests began in 2009 challenging Chinese rule in Tibetan areas and calling for the return from exile of Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

On March 16, two Tibetan monks set themselves on fire and died in separate self-immolation protests in Sichuan and Qinghai provinces.

Chinese authorities have tightened controls in a bid to check the self-immolation protests, arresting and jailing Tibetans whom they accuse of being linked to the burnings. Some have been jailed for up to 15 years.

Reported by Dorjee Damdul, Lumbum Tashi and Lobsang Chophel for RFA's Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Parameswaran Ponnudurai.

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