by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Aug 26, 2011
Three monks in a Tibetan region of China will go on trial for murder next week over the death by self-immolation of another monk in March, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported on Friday.
The three have been charged with "plotting, instigating and assisting in" the death of their fellow monk at the Kirti Tibetan Buddhist monastery, Xinhua quoted the Maerkang County People's Court as saying in a statement.
A fourth monk has also been accused of moving and hiding Phuntsog, the man who had set himself alight -- thus preventing emergency treatment and leading to his death, it said.
The young monk set himself on fire on March 16, the third anniversary of anti-government rioting in Lhasa. His death triggered protests, prompting a clampdown by authorities around the monastery in Sichuan province.
At the time, Xinhua quoted a government spokesman as blaming fellow monks for delays to Phuntsog's treatment, saying police had taken him to hospital but other monks forcibly took him back to the monastery and hid him there.
But the New York-based International Campaign for Tibet said that the monks had rescued Phuntsog from police, who had begun beating him after extinguishing the flames, and took him to the monastery before returning him to hospital.
Phuntsog was the second monk at Kirti to set himself on fire since the anti-Chinese riots in Lhasa of March 2008, the bloodiest in Tibet in 20 years.
Xinhua said he was just 16 years old at the time of his death, though reports at the time varied and rights groups put the monk's age at 20 or 21.
Another monk died by self-immolation in Sichuan in August. Campaigners said the 29-year-old at the Nyitso monastery drank petrol before setting himself alight. Police and soldiers surrounded the monastery after his death.
According to the London-based Free Tibet rights group, citing local contacts, that monk was heard to shout just before setting himself alight, "We Tibetan people want freedom", "Long live the Dalai Lama" and "Let the Dalai Lama return to Tibet".
Many Tibetans in China are angry about what they view as increasing domination by China's majority Han ethnic group, and accuse the government of trying to dilute their culture.
China, however, says that Tibetan living standards have improved markedly in recent decades, pointing to its billions of dollars in spending on infrastructure and development projects.
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Patient dies in China after hospital staff flee fire
Shanghai (AFP) Aug 26, 2011
A man died during an operation in a Chinese hospital after doctors and nurses fled during a fire, leaving him to suffocate in thick smoke, state media and officials said Friday. The 49-year-old patient had been in a traffic accident and was having an amputation in the Shanghai hospital on Wednesday when a fire broke out in one of the operating rooms, the official Xinhua news agency said. ... read more
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