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Tibetan man in India sets himself afire before Hu's visit

By Harmeet Shah Singh, CNN
updated 10:40 PM EDT, Mon March 26, 2012
Indian police personnel pushed detained Tibetan protestors onto a bus during a demonstration in New Delhi on March 26.
Indian police personnel pushed detained Tibetan protestors onto a bus during a demonstration in New Delhi on March 26.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The protester had burns on 90% of his body, police say
  • More than 30 acts of self-immolation have taken place in the last year in China
  • Tibetans want genuine autonomy from China
  • Chinese officials call the acts "extreme"

New Delhi, India (CNN) -- A Tibetan protester set himself alight in New Delhi on Monday ahead of Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to India this week, police said.

New Delhi police spokesman Rajan Bhagat said the 27-year-old man was part of a Tibetan protest over Hu's upcoming visit to the Indian capital for a summit Thursday.

The man was hospitalized with burns on 90% of his body, Bhagat said.

Self-immolation is a common form of protests for Tibetans who want genuine autonomy from China and accuse Beijing of repression.

More than 30 of them took place in the last year in China, Tibetan advocacy groups say.

They follow an increase in security measures by the Chinese authorities in response to unrest among Tibetans in western areas of China in recent months.

Some in Tibet have advocated independence from China. But the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, and others have said they favor genuine autonomy and resent the slow erosion of their culture amid an influx of Han Chinese, the most numerous ethnic group in China.

Activists say the disturbing acts of self-immolation reflect an increasingly repressive environment under China's control.

Beijing rejects accusations of oppression of Tibetans, saying that under its rule, living standards have greatly improved for the Tibetan people.

Chinese officials have described the self-immolations as "extreme" acts.

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