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Tibetan Monk Self-Immolates in Anti-China Protest

A Tibetan Buddhist monk has set himself on fire in western China, making him the fifth monk to attempt self-immolation this year.

The Tibetan exile network, known as Free Tibet, reported the monk aged 17 or 18, is from the Kirti monastery in western Sichuan near the Tibetan border. It said the monk was holding a picture of the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and calling for religious rights and freedoms in Tibet when he set himself on fire in a vegetable market.

The London-based group said police extinguished the flames, but the monk's condition is not known.

Last Monday, two other monks from the same monastery also set themselves on fire, in an apparent anti-Beijing protest.

Official Chinese media have not reported on the latest protest. China accuses the Dalai Lama of trying to separate Tibet from China, while the Dalai Lama says he seeks only increased autonomy for the region, not independence.

On Saturday, hundreds of Tibetans protested in the region after a Tibetan flag and a picture of Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, were removed in Seda, a town in Sichuan province. The demonstrations came on China's National Day, which celebrates the day the Communist Party took control in China.