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New Self-immolation in Tibet Leads to Clash in China

Reports from China say another Tibetan set himself on fire Saturday and police clashed with protesters who attempted to retrieve his burned body from the authorities.

Tibetan groups in exile say the incident occurred near the restive Kirti monastery in Sichuan province.

It was not immediately known if the Tibetan, who is thought to be male, died in the latest self-immolation incident.

Police took the burned body, sparking further unrest as hundreds of Tibetans surrounded the police station demanding its return.

The self-immolation that occurred today was the 17th since Kirti monk Tapey set fire to himself on February 27, 2009. Twelve of the 17 were from Ngaba. The last self-immolation occurred just under a week ago in Golog, Qinghai, and was the first of a reincarnate lama. Sonam Wangyal a respected religious figure in his local area, drank kerosene and set himself on fire on January 8 early in the morning in Darlag county, Golog Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai. Protesting what they say is Beijing's growing religious repression.

The Chinese government has condemned the self-immolations, calling them a form of terrorism. Beijing has also accused Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, of supporting such acts.

The Dalai Lama has denied encouraging self-immolations, but he has also failed to openly condemn the acts. In an interview with the BBC television last year, he said those who set themselves on fire were brave, but that their sacrifice was not wise because it resulted in a tougher crackdown by the Chinese authorities.