Tibet immolations 'will not stop development'

File photo: Monks in Sichuan province Many of the self-immolations in the past year have involved Tibetan monks

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A Chinese official says self-immolations in Tibet will not disrupt regional development, as state media confirmed the most recent incident.

Li Changping, a senior party official in Sichuan province, said that "separatist activities of the Dalai Lama clique are doomed to fail".

Xinhua confirmed the recent death, of a student, but said a head injury was the reason she set herself alight.

Rights groups reported two other self-immolations over the last week.

"The Dalai Lama clique have made more attempts to split China, a few monks and nuns in the Tibetan-populated regions echoed them at a distance," Mr Li, a member of the standing committee of the Communist Party in Sichuan was quoted as saying at a panel discussion at the National People's Congress in Beijing.

"But these people can neither represent all Tibetans nor stop the stably-developing trend in these regions."

Wu Zegang, the government's top administrator in Aba - part of Sichuan with a large ethnic Tibetan community where many of the self-immolations have taken place - also called the self-immolations "orchestrated and supported" by the Dalai Lama.

"Some of the suicides are committed by clerics returning to lay life, and they all have criminal records or suspicious activities. They have a very bad reputation in society,'' Mr Wu said in Beijiing.

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
  • Dalai Lama fled to India

The Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, has said he does not support the self-immolations, but has attributed them to a lack of religious freedom.

More than 20 Tibetans, mostly monks, have set themselves on fire in the last year in apparent anti-Beijing protests.

Of the three recent cases, China has only confirmed the death of student Tsering Kyi, who died after she set fire to herself in Maqu county of Gansu province. Rights groups reported her death on Saturday.

Xinhua quoted local police as saying that an accident in which she hit her head affected her studies, "which put a lot of pressure on her and made her lose her courage for life and study".

Rights groups, however, say that she set herself alight in protest against Chinese rule.

The other recent cases reportedly involve a teenage boy and a mother of four, who both set themselves alight in Aba county.

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