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Tibetan monk self-immolates inside China temple

BEIJING (AP) — A Tibetan Buddhist monk set himself on fire inside a western Chinese monastery recently singled out by authorities as a hub of the grisly self-immolation protests striking the region, reports said Sunday.

U.S.-backed broadcaster Radio Free Asia said Lobsang Thokmey, 28, was the 108th Tibetan to self-immolate in a string of protests against Chinese rule and religious restrictions starting in February 2009. His protest took place on the fifth anniversary of a 2008 government crackdown in the area in which police fired into a crowd, allegedly killing 10 people.

The monk set himself on fire Saturday inside his room in Kirti monastery in Sichuan province's mountainous Aba county, RFA said. Carrying a Tibetan Buddhist prayer flag, he ran toward the monastery entrance before collapsing and was rushed to hospital where he died, the report said.

A man who answered the phone at Kirti said the monastery was open to the public, but hung up when questioned about the self-immolation report. Calls to local government and police offices rang unanswered.

The London-based advocacy group Free Tibet also reported Lobsang Thokmey's self-immolation. It said a large force of security personnel at the county hospital had removed his body.

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