Self-immolation by monk confirmed

By Yan Shuang Source:Global Times Published: 2013-3-19 0:53:00

A senior police officer in Sichuan Province's Aba prefecture, which is home to many Tibetans, confirmed to the Global Times Monday that a monk in the Kirti Monastery self-immolated and died on Saturday.

Zhou Mu, an officer with Aba county's public security bureau, told the Global Times a 27-year-old monk named Thokmey self-immolated in his room on Saturday and was declared dead at a hospital in Maerkang, capital of Aba prefecture.

"He ran out of his room for some 200 meters toward the monastery gate, and collapsed. Police officers found him and extinguished the fire," Zhou told the Global Times, adding that the monk was carrying a religious flag.

Police said it remains unclear if other monks were involved, Zhou said.

A media officer with the county government also confirmed there was a self-immolation but said no further details were available. A Kirti Monastery management deputy director refused to comment on the case.

The monk died on March 16, the fifth anniversary of a day of unrest in 2008, during which officials say some 300 monks rushed out of the Kirti Monastery and attacked police and local government offices.

Another monk also killed himself on the same date in 2011 and armed police stood guard around the Kirti Monastery for a month to prevent other immolations or unrest, Zhou told the Global Times earlier.

Meanwhile, a government employee in Ruoergai county of Aba prefecture on Monday said a recent Radio Free Asia report was wrong when it reported that a 31-year-old Tibetan woman self-immolated before midnight Wednesday in protest against government policies.

"A Tibetan woman did die last week, but it was not a self-immolation. It is likely a criminal case," said Yang Yunjian, a media officer with Ruoergai's county government, adding that police are investigating.

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