Tibet: new immolation in Southwest China

A 32 year old woman, mother of four, has committed suicide Sunday by setting herself on fire in Sichuan, a province in southwestern China.

The woman, Rinchen (ไป็œŸ), who died near the Kirti monastery in the town of Aba, demanded the return of Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibetans living in exile since 1959.

According to rights groups, more than twenty people, mainly Buddhist monks, have set themselves on fire in a year in the neighboring regions of Tibet, especially in Sichuan.

The Chinese authorities seek to avoid problems with the anniversary of the Dalai Lama’s exile in March 1959.

In March 2008, the protests by Buddhist monks in Lhasa to mark the 49th anniversary of Tibetan uprising and exile of the Dalai Lama, had degenerated into riots. Unrest had spread to neighboring Chinese provinces hosting Tibetan minorities.

The Chinese Communist Party chief in Tibet, Chen Quanguo, gave the order to tighten controls on the Internet and mobile phones during this period, according to official Chinese media.

Disturbances have occurred in recent months in several locations in regions with high Tibetan population in south-west of the country.