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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

China confirms monk immolation in Tibetan town: Xinhua

March 1, 2009

February 28, 2009

BEIJING (AFP) ? Chinese authorities have admitted a man in monk's robes
set himself alight, according to state media, confirming there was
unrest in a Tibetan town where activist groups said police shot the

The man walked out of the Kirti Monastery in Aba and set himself on fire
in a local street on Friday afternoon, Xinhua news agency said, citing
the local Communist Party chief, Shi Jun.

Shi reportedly said police put out the fire, and that the man was taken
to hospital with burn injuries to his neck and head.

The official said the man was wearing monk's robes, and that an
investigation was underway. Few other details were given in the initial
Xinhua report.

Tibetan activist groups had earlier said police shot the monk after he
soused himself with petrol and set himself alight to protest against
Chinese rule.

The monk, in his late 20s, had been holding a flag with an image of
exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama when he made his protest,
the London-based group Free Tibet reported.

The incident came amid high tensions in Tibet and other areas of western
China with Tibetan populations ahead of the ultra-sensitive 50th
anniversary of a failed uprising on March 10 that led to the Dalai Lama
fleeing to India.

Aba, in southwest China's Sichuan province, has been a flashpoint since
police opened fire on an anti-Chinese protest there in March last year,
in violence that activists said then left at least seven Tibetans dead.

The protest last year was part of unrest across the Tibetan plateau to
mark the 49th anniversary of the failed 1959 uprising.

China has ruled Tibet since 1951, a year after sending troops in to
"liberate" the region from what it said was serfdom under the Dalai Lama.
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