Tibet: Monk Sets Himself on Fire
A monk set himself on fire to protest against the Chinese government at a Tibetan Buddhism monastery on Friday [27 February 2009]. The move frustrated
weeks of preparations by Chinese government, which tried to fight back western criticism about human rights situation in Tibet while imposing intense level security measures to avoid unrest during the current Tibetan new year festival.
Reports suggest that the monk was shot at by the police as he emerged out of the Kirti Monastery in Aba and set himself on fire Friday [27 February 2009] afternoon. The London-based group Free Tibet released details of the Aba incident saying the monk was holding a flag with an image of exiled the Dalai Lama when he made his protest on Friday afternoon.
Aba is in southwest China's Sichuan province, which saw extensive rioting at the time of Lhasa riots in March last year .
Sichuan is one of the three provinces neighbouring Tibet with a high population of Tibetans.
The official Xinhua news agency confirmed the attempt at self-immolation but did not mention the shooting incident.
It quoted the local Communist Party chief, Shi Jun as saying that a man in monk's robes was rushed to the hospital with burn injuries to his neck and head.
The incident took place one day after [26 February 2009] the Chinese government released a report saying the United States was rife with racialism and human rights abuses and therefore had no report to blame other countries. "The US practice of throwing stones at others while living in a glass house is a testimony to the double standards and hypocrisy of the United States in dealing with human rights issues, and has undermined its international image," it said.
The government had ordered senior officials to mingle with ordinary Tibetans during the new year celebrations in provinces with sizeable Tibetan population while carrying out searches for people suspected of causing unrest in the past. The government is keen to avoid a repeat of last year's  rioting at a time when the 50th anniversary of the Tibetan uprising is round the corner on March 10 . Riots took place last March  when some Tibetans were observing the 49th anniversary of the rebellion that had resulted in the Dalai Lama's escape to India.