Skip to main content

Groups: Young nun latest to self-immolate in Tibet

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 9:19 PM EST, Sat February 11, 2012
Buddhist people attend a candle vigil of the Tibetan Community in memory of self immolations in Tibet during the eighth day of the Kalachakra Festival in Bodhgaya, India, on January 8, 2012.
Buddhist people attend a candle vigil of the Tibetan Community in memory of self immolations in Tibet during the eighth day of the Kalachakra Festival in Bodhgaya, India, on January 8, 2012.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Nun, 18, set herself afire in Tibet, rights groups say
  • It is the latest in a string of defiant acts
  • China has denied many of them occurred
  • It says its rule has improved living standards in the region

(CNN) -- An 18-year-old nun set herself afire Saturday, the latest in a string of self-immolations by Tibetans amid anger and despair over Chinese rule, Tibetan rights groups reported.

The woman, who was calling out slogans of protest, was believed to have survived, said the London-based Free Tibet.

The organization, which says people in the mountainous region should determine their own future, said the act was the 22nd self-immolation there in less than a year.

"We know many more Tibetans are willing to give their lives and Tibetans are protesting in the streets, free from fear, aware that the consequences of doing so could be as grave as being shot and that arrest is likely," Free Tibet director Stephanie Brigden said in a statement.

Unrest ahead of Tibetan New Year
Tibet officials fired for neglect
China unrest targets Tibetan protesters

What's behind Tibetan unrest?

Chinese state media have contested several reports of self-immolation.

But Xinhua, the official state news agency, said this week that authorities "have stressed the efforts to maintain stability" following the defiant acts.

China rejects accusations of oppression of Tibetans, saying its rule has greatly improved living standards for the Tibetan people.

It has accused the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader in exile, of encouraging people to harm themselves in this way -- a charge the leader denies.

Timeline of Tibetan protests in China

The Dalai Lama denies seeking independence for Tibet, saying he wants genuine autonomy, under which Tibetans can make their own policies on key issues, such as religious practices.

Global Times, an English-language newspaper run by the Chinese Communist Party, reported Friday that officials are readying for a "war against secessionist sabotage."

It cited officials saying the Dalai Lama and supporters are determined "to plot conspiracies this year."

Advocacy groups Free Tibet and the International Campaign for Tibet have reported that the Chinese authorities have fired on unarmed protesters in at least three places in the past few weeks, killing several and wounding dozens.

The Chinese state-run media have reported that at least one protester was killed in the clashes, but that the police fired in self-defense after the Tibetans attacked them.

Pro-Tibetan groups claim Tibetans have gradually become the minority population in their own homeland, as Han Chinese -- China's main ethnic group -- have migrated to the region.

Resentment among Tibetans spilled over in 2008 when a protest in Lhasa turned violent, as Tibetan mobs burned vehicles and shops and attacked ethnic Chinese. Tibetan exiles say more than 200 people died when Chinese security forces clamped down, but Beijing denies this, saying 22 people, mostly Chinese civilians, died during riots. Activists say tensions have remained high ever since.

CNN's Jethro Mullen contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
See CNN's complete coverage on China.
updated 3:12 AM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
All you need to know about the tainted meat produce that affects fast food restaurants across China, Hong Kong, and Japan.
updated 10:30 PM EDT, Thu July 17, 2014
Some savvy individuals in China are claiming naming rights to valuable foreign brands. Here's how companies can combat them.
updated 5:11 AM EDT, Wed July 16, 2014
Is Xi Jinping a true reformist or merely a "dictator" in disguise? CNN's Beijing bureau chief Jaime FlorCruz dissects the leader's policies
updated 11:44 PM EDT, Mon July 7, 2014
With a population of 1.3 billion, you'd think that there would be 11 people in China who are good enough to put up a fight on the football pitch.
updated 2:31 AM EDT, Fri July 4, 2014
26-year-old Ji Cheng is the first rider from China to compete for competitive cycling's highest honor.
updated 7:24 AM EDT, Mon July 7, 2014
China's richest man, Wang Jianlin, may not yet be a household name outside of China, but that could be about to change.
updated 12:14 AM EDT, Fri July 4, 2014
Hong Kong's narrow streets were once a dazzling gallery of neon, where banks and even bordellos plied their trade under sizzling tubular signs.
updated 7:57 PM EDT, Thu July 3, 2014
When President Xi Jinping arrives in Seoul this week, the Chinese leader will have passed over North Korea in favor of its arch rival.
updated 7:59 AM EDT, Thu July 3, 2014
Three more officials have been given the chop as part of China's anti-corruption drive, including former aides to the retired security chief.
updated 9:05 AM EDT, Tue July 1, 2014
As thousands of Hong Kongers prepare for an annual protest, voices in China's press warn pro-democracy activism is a bad idea.
updated 12:37 AM EDT, Mon June 30, 2014
Hong Kongers are demanding the right to directly elect their next leader, setting up a face-off with Beijing.
updated 2:56 AM EDT, Tue July 1, 2014
The push for democratic reform in Hong Kong is testing China's "one country, two systems" model.
updated 7:56 AM EDT, Mon June 30, 2014
Along a winding Chinese mountain road dotted with inns and restaurants is Jinan Orphanage, a place of refuge and site for troubled parents to dump unwanted children.
updated 4:36 AM EDT, Thu June 26, 2014
CNN's Kristie Lu Stout invites Isaac Mao, Han Dongfang, and James Miles to discuss the rise of civil society in China and social media's crucial role.
updated 11:34 PM EDT, Wed June 25, 2014
Chen Guangbiao wants rich people to give more to charity and he'll do anything to get their attention, including buying lunch for poor New Yorkers.
updated 7:44 AM EDT, Thu June 26, 2014
Architects are planning to build the future world's tallest towers in China. They're going to come in pretty colors.
updated 7:47 AM EDT, Mon June 23, 2014
Anna Coren visits Yulin's annual dog meat festival. Dogs are part of the daily diet here, with an estimated 10,000 dogs killed for the festival alone.
updated 2:38 AM EDT, Thu June 19, 2014
People know little about sex, but are having plenty of it. We take a look at the ramifications of a lack of sex education in China.
updated 4:12 AM EDT, Fri June 13, 2014
Hong Kongers have reacted angrily to a Chinese government white paper affirming Beijing's control over the territory.
The emphasis on national glory -- rather than purely personal achievement -- is key.
updated 12:14 PM EDT, Mon June 16, 2014
A replica of the Effel Tower in Tianducheng, a luxury real estate development located in Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang province.
What's the Eiffel Tower doing in China? Replica towns of the world's most famous monuments spring up all over China.
updated 8:13 PM EDT, Tue June 10, 2014
Rapid development hasn't just boosted the economy -- it has opened up vast swathes of the country, says a man who has spent much of his life exploring it.
updated 2:54 AM EDT, Tue June 10, 2014
The World Cup is apparently making a lot of people "ill" in China.
ADVERTISEMENT