Two Tibetans set themselves on fire in Qinghai

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Two Tibetans set themselves on fire on Wednesday in Qinghai province, activist groups and Chinese state media said.

One man died and the other was seriously injured in the incident in Yushu prefecture, which has a large ethnic Tibetan community.

More than 35 Tibetans have set themselves on fire in the last year in apparent protest against China's rule.

Many of them are reported to have died. Chinese state media has confirmed some incidents but not all.

Foreign media are banned from the region, making reports hard to confirm.

Activist groups said that the two men were in their early twenties. Reports said they were carrying Tibetan independence flags as they set themselves on fire.

The Tibet Divide

  • China says Tibet always part of its territory
  • Tibet had long periods of autonomy
  • China launched a military assault in 1950
  • Opposition to Chinese rule led to a bloody uprising in 1959
  • Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, fled to India
  • Dalai Lama now advocates a "middle way" with Beijing, seeking autonomy but not independence

China's state-run Xinhua news agency said one was a local herder and the other a carpenter from Aba county in Sichuan province, where many of the self-immolations have taken place.

Most of the incidents have occurred in ethnically Tibetan areas outside Tibet, but last month two people set themselves on fire outside the Jokhang temple in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa.

China's leaders accuse the Dalai Lama, the Tibetans' exiled spiritual leader, of inciting the self-immolations and encouraging separatism.

He rejects this, and both activist groups and the Tibetan government-in-exile say the self-immolations are protests against tight Chinese control of the region and religious repression.

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