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Tibet groups report latest self-immolation of man in protest

AP  |  Beijing 

A man set himself on and died in western China's province in the first protest among Tibetans this year, monitoring groups reported today.

Tsekho Tugchak, reportedly in his 40s, died in county on Wednesday amid intensified security in the restive region ahead of the anniversary of a 2008 anti-riot and 1959 independence uprising, the International Campaign for said.

ICT said his death was the 153rd by a Tibetan since the protests began in 2009. The Free Campaign and US-backed also reported the death, saying it took place in Ngaba's Meruma township.

In Beijing, Tibet's chief, the region's most powerful official, dismissed the reports.

"I don't think they're telling the truth," told reporters at a meeting on the sidelines of the annual session of China's ceremonial parliament.

"If such self-immolations happened in the United States, it really wouldn't be that weird, but I can tell you that in that these kinds of incidents don't happen," Wu said.

The self-immolations by Tibetans monks, nuns and laypeople aim to highlight harsh Chinese rule and the oppression of Tibet's Buddhist culture, as well as appeal for the return of exiled spiritual leader,

is closed to foreign media, making it virtually impossible to confirm reported self-immolations, which are believed to have peaked in 2012 with 83 that year.

Staff members reached at police headquarters, government offices and the local propaganda department in Ngaba, also known by its Chinese name, Aba, said they had no knowledge of the case. All declined to give their names as is usual among Chinese bureaucrats.

claims Tibet's traditional territory, including Ngaba, has been part of its territory for more than seven centuries and regards as a dangerous separatist.

Many Tibetans insist they were essentially independent for most of that time and have protested what they regard as China's heavy-handed rule imposed after the People's Liberation Army's battled its way into the region in 1950.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, March 08 2018. 12:15 IST