07/18/2012, 00.00
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In Ngaba, 18-year-old monk becomes 44th Tibetan to die from self-immolation

Lobsang Lozin came from Kirti monastery. In March, two other monks from the same monastery set themselves on fire. Tensions persist between Chinese police and the local population. Fellow monks were able to recover the body for funeral rites.

Lhasa (AsiaNews) - An 18-year-old Tibetan monk died after setting himself on fire. During his action, he called for the liberation of Tibet and the return of the Dalai Lama. The incident occurred in Barkham, Ngaba County (Sichuan province). With his death, the number of Tibetans who took their own lives since 2009 to protest against China now stands at 44.

The young monk's name was Lobsang Lozin and he came from Kirti Monastery. After his action, Chinese police tried to make its way into the monastery but were stopped by local Tibetans. At present, tensions between police and local residents remain high.

Kirti monks were able to recover the monk's lifeless body and bring it into the monastery where they performed the necessary funeral services. He should be cremated in the evening, Tibetan human rights sources said.

He is the third Kirti monk to set himself on fire in recent months. On 30 March, Chime Palden, 21, and Tenpa Dhargyal, 22, set themselves on fire to demand the end of China's occupation. The first monk died the following day; the second, a week later.

The 44 Tibetans chose to die by fire in order to demonstrate against Beijing's control and restrictions on monasteries and freedom of worship. They also chose this path to demand the return of the Dalai Lama.

Although the latter did praise those who chose death by fire, he has never encouraged such extreme forms of protest, blaming them instead on China's "cultural genocide" in Tibet.

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