|Photo credit: AP | In this image made from amateur video footage released by the Tibetan Youth Congress, two Tibetans hold Tibetan independence flags as they are engulfed in flames in their self-immolation to protest against Chinese rule, on a street in Yushu prefecture in China's Qinghai province Wednesday, June 20, 2012. The exile group released a graphic video showing two Tibetans collapsing in flames during another suicidal protest against Chinese rule. The group and the official Xinhua News Agency said one man died and the other was seriously injured. (AP Photo/The Tibetan Youth Congress) |
BEIJING - (AP) -- Two young Tibetans, a herder and a migrant
carpenter, set themselves on fire and hold up Tibetan flags as the
flames engulf them before they stumble and fall on a street in western
China, in a graphic video of their immolations released Thursday.
One of the two men who self-immolated
Wednesday in Yushu prefecture, a heavily Tibetan area in west China's
Qinghai province, died and the other was badly hurt, the Tibetan Youth Congress and China's Xinhua News Agency said.
The cases add to about three dozen
self-immolations over the past year in ethnic Tibetan areas of China in
protest of what activists say is Beijing's heavy-handed rule in the region. The government has confirmed some but not all of them.
Xinhua said the dead man was a
local herder and the survivor migrated from Aba prefecture in Sichuan
province. The Tibetan Youth Congress said by email that 24-year-old
Tenzin Khedup died and it identified the injured man as Ngawang Norphel,
The group released photos of a charred
body lying on the bed of a pickup truck and a video showing two men
holding up Tibetan independence flags as flames engulf them. Both men
stumble and fall in the seven-second video before one man rises and runs
down the street in flames. High-pitched screaming can be heard but it's
not clear who is making the sound.
The short video shows several bystanders, including a woman who exits a car next to the burning men and runs away.
The group said "anonymous citizen journalists" took the video and photos. U.S. broadcaster Radio Free Asia's Chinese language service posted the video to YouTube.
Beijing blames the Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader the Dalai Lama
for inciting the self-immolations. The Dalai Lama denies that and says
the acts are the result of China's repressive policies in Tibet.
Barry Sautman, associate professor of social science at Hong Kong
University of Science And Technology, noted that while security has
been tightened in Tibetan areas to prevent such immolations, it's very
difficult to stop such small-scale and scattered incidents.
"As we can see from the video, this
kind of action can take place in a matter of seconds, so, of course the
security forces can't be everywhere," said Sautman.
Sautman said such protests are likely to stoke a further tightening of restrictions on monks and monasteries in Tibetan regions.
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Source: Associated Press