Tibetan monk commits protest suicide

July 18, 2012 at 10:23 AM
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BEIJING, July 18 (UPI) -- An 18-year-old Tibetan monk set himself on fire and died as Chinese security forces tried to descend on a monastery, a Tibetan activist group said.

Free Tibet reports Lobsang Lobzin, 18, died after setting himself on fire in protest of Chinese action in the region. The rights group said local Tibetans formed a human shield around the Kirti Monastery to prevent Chinese forces from entering the site.

"Chinese forces began to make their way to the monastery but local Tibetans gathered to prevent them from proceeding," the rights group said.

More than 40 Tibetans have attempted protest suicides this year in the face of what Free Tibet described as a repressive Chinese occupation.

Tibetan activists said Chinese security officials have used force to quiet monks who are protesting in the region. Beijing claims it's the Tibetan activists who are to blame for escalating tensions.

The Chinese government claims Western media are distorting the security situation in Sichuan province.

Tibetan activists are calling for more autonomy and the return of spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

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