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Tibetan boy, 14, dies in self-immolation: Xinhua
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Nov 15, 2012

A 14-year-old Tibetan boy died after self-immolating, state media said Thursday, the tenth person to set themselves on fire since the eve of a pivotal meeting of ruling Communists last week.

The boy, identified by the single name Karpongya, died in the town of Tongren in China's northwest Qinghai province, Xinhua said.

The area has seen a wave of self-immolation protests against Chinese rule in Tibetan areas.

Since Wednesday of last week -- the day before the start of the 18th Communist Party congress -- 10 cases of people setting themselves on fire have been reported either by Xinhua or Tibetan rights groups.

The youngster set fire to himself at 12:10 pm (0410 GMT), the news agency said, quoting the local government.

Since 2009, scores of people have set themselves on fire in protest at Chinese rule, but the immolations have gained pace in recent months.

The highly-sensitive congress ended Wednesday and a new Politburo Standing Committee -- China's highest decision-making body -- was unveiled Thursday.

The latest reported self-immolation follows the deaths of two men after they set fire to themselves in Tongren on Monday.

Since 2009, 69 people have set themselves on fire in protest at Chinese rule, of whom 54 have died, the India-based Tibetan government-in-exile had said before Monday's incidents.

Thousands of Tibetans on Wednesday gathered in Tongren to say prayers for the two men, the International Campaign for Tibet rights group said.

AFP were unable to reach the police and local government in Tongren on Thursday.

Many Tibetans in China accuse the government of religious repression and eroding their culture, as the country's majority Han ethnic group increasingly moves into historically Tibetan areas.

China rejects this, saying Tibetans enjoy religious freedom. Beijing points to huge ongoing investment it says has brought modernisation and a better standard of living to Tibet.


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