For the first time Tibetans immolate themselves in Lhasa

A Tibetan died and another was seriously injured while trying to set themselves on fire in Lhasa on Sunday.

The two men turned into human torches in the heart of this historic city of the Tibetan plateau. Lhasa is the current capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region located in the southwest of China.

The city, almost always closed to the foreign press and open to tourists if they are holders of a pass, is placed under tight security since the violence that took place there in 2008.

The police managed to extinguish the flames “within minutes”. One of two Tibetans, named Dargye, survived his injuries. He was from Aba
(阿坝), a Tibetan area of Sichuan province, where several immolations of Tibetans took place since last year, while the other, Tobgye Tseten, came from the province of Gansu (甘肃).

The desperate act of two Tibetan young monks took place in front of the Jokhang Temple (大昭寺), an ancient pilgrimage site. Lhasa is now under tight control of police and paramilitary forces, the situation is very tense. Local authorities have declined to comment.

Lhasa was the scene of deadly violence in 2008 anti-Chinese riot. These events had begun on March 10, the anniversary of the uprising against the authority of Beijing in March 1959, before spreading to other parts of China inhabited by Tibetan minorities.

More than 30 Tibetans, mostly Buddhist monks immolated themselves by fire or tried to do so since early March 2011 in Tibetan areas of China. The most senior Chinese Communist Party official in Lhasa ordered the beginning of a strengthening of police surveillance of monasteries in Tibet.