Chinese blame monastery for self-immolations

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Chinese officials have castigated a Tibetan monastery at the centre of a wave of self-immolations, saying it has been inciting the fiery protests.

Wu Zegang, the governor of Aba prefecture in south-western China, yesterday said the local Kirti monastery was collaborating with exiled Tibetans, including spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, to organise locals to set themselves on fire.

Mr Wu said authorities believed the monastery’s senior clerics persuaded others to self-immolate by saying that they would be heroes and freedom fighters and by organising monks to send money and goods to the protesters’ families. Mr Wu did not offer any evidence to substantiate his claim.

More than 100 self-immolations have been reported in Tibetan areas of Sichuan, Qinghai and Gansu since 2009, with many of the protesters calling for the return of the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, who is in exile in India.