Beijing has blamed the Dalai Lama for inciting a string of nine Tibetan protesters who set themselves on fire in recent months, the BBC reports.
The latest protester was Tenzin Wangmo, a 20-year-old nun who died Monday from self-immolation. Wangmo reportedly called for Tibet’s freedom before she set herself on fire. At least five of the Tibetan protesters have died resulting from their injuries, according to the AP.
The rise in Tibetan protestors setting themselves on fire in has been an indication for some of the rising tension between Tibet and China.
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The Tibetan spiritual leader led prayers and fasting Wednesday in honor of the nine protesters at his temple, in the northern Indian town of Dharamsala where he lives in exile. Services in New Dehli and Taiwan were also held for the protesters, including messages of support on Twitter.
The Chinese government spoke out against the protests the same day they were being honored.
"In the wake of the incidents, overseas Tibet independent forces and the Dalai group did not criticise the cases," foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told journalists at a news briefing. "On the contrary, they beautified, played up such issues to incite more people to follow suit. As we know, such splittist activities at the cost of human lives is violence and terrorism in disguise."
Aba county in Sichuan province, where the majority of the protests have been, is under strict Chinese security presence. Free Tibet Director Stephanie Brigden said unrest is growing.
“The number and frequency of self-immolations is unprecedented,” Brigden said in a press release. “The acts of self-immolation are not taking place in isolation, protests have been reported in the surrounding region and calls for wider protests are growing. China has already responded with force in one instance we have grave concerns that greater force may be deployed if protests spread.”