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Tibetan in Critical Condition after Self-Immolating in Nepal


An exiled Tibetan monk sets himself on fire at Boudhanath Stupa in Kathmandu, February 13, 2013.

An exiled Tibetan monk sets himself on fire at Boudhanath Stupa in Kathmandu, February 13, 2013.

A Tibetan exile set himself on fire in Nepal's capital on Wednesday in what appears to be the latest in a series of self-immolation protests against China.

Police say the man is in critical condition after he poured gasoline on himself and set himself on fire at a restaurant before collapsing near Kathmandu's Boudhanath Stupa, considered one of Buddhism's holiest sites.

Some eyewitnesses say he was chanting anti-China slogans before police and other locals rushed in to put out the flames. A local Tibetan community leader, identified only as Mingma, says the suicide attempt was "respectable.

"This was a sacrifice by this man. It was his attempt to draw the attention of the world towards the suppression by the Chinese over our homeland," said Mingma. "He was giving up his life so that the people of Tibet could get their freedom."

Pictures of the self-immolation show shocked bystanders watching as a team of police rush in to help a man covered in a blanket of flames standing in the street. The authenticity of the pictures could not be confirmed.

About 100 Tibetans have self-immolated since 2009 to protest what they say is Chinese repression of their culture and homeland. China denies the charges and says the suicide protests are acts of terrorism.

More than 20,000 Tibetan exiles are living in Nepal, after a failed 1959 uprising against Chinese rule. Nepal has prohibited demonstrations by Tibetan exiles and cracked down on such gatherings in recent years, to avoid angering China.

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