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Tibetan teens set themselves on fire in western China

Dharamshala, Feb 21 (): Two young Tibetans have reportedly burned themselves to death in western China. The incident took place exactly in the Kyangtsa region of Zoege, eastern Tibet on February 19, protesting the continued occupation and tyrannical policies of China in Tibet and calling for cultural and religious freedom, as well as the return of the Dalai Lama.

The Nobel laureate, Dalai Lama escaped his homeland in 1959 after a failed uprising, and has since based himself in the Indian hill town of Dharamshala.

The two teenagers Rinchen, 17 and Sonam Dhargey, 18, who set fire on themselves at around 9:30 pm (local time) on Tueaday have succumbed to burns. The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said Rinchen was on his New Year holiday visiting his family at the time of the incident. Both the teenagers died at the scene and their bodies were taken by their families, the group said.

Most of the self-immolations have taken place in the ethnic Tibetan areas of China. Campaigners say that more than 100 Tibetans have set fire on themselves in China and Tibet, over the past two years. Most of them have died from the injuries sustained in their act of protest.

Expressing concern over reports of continuing self-immolations in Tibet, the United States last Friday condemned the “horrific” toll as the number of Tibetans who have set themselves on fire to protest Chinese rule is increasing and is now numbering more than 100.

The US has also appealed to Tibetans to refrain from such drastic actions, the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) said on Saturday.

The Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet said at least 22 of those who have set themselves on fire were aged 18 or under, including Tuesday’s double immolation.

State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said on Friday in Washington that the US remains deeply concerned by the reports that such deadly immolations are continuing.