Two Tibetans set themselves alight in Qinghai province


A Free Tibet candlelit display showing the pictures of Tibetans who died of self immolation is seen during a protest in front of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on February 22, 2012.


Aaron Tam

Two young Tibetans have set themselves on fire in China’s western Qinghai province in protest against Chinese rule.

One man died and the other sustained serious injuries in the incident, which took place Wednesday. Both were in their 20s. In an email to the Associated Press, the Tibetan Youth Congress, an NGO that campaigns for Tibetan independence from China, said the men themselves alight in Yushu prefecture, which has a large ethnic Tibetan population.

According to China’s state-run Xinhua news agency, the dead man was a herder and the second man a carpenter from Aba prefecture in Sichuan province, the Associated Press reported.

Radio Free Asia named the men as Tenzin Khedup, a former monk, and Ngawang Norphel, adding that the two were holding Tibetan independence flags and shouting pro-independence slogans as they set themselves alight.

More from GlobalPost: Tibet is burning

According to the Agence France Presse, at least 40 people have set themselves on fire in areas of China populated by Tibetans since March last year, in protest against what activists say are repressive Chinese state policies.

Chinese officials accuse the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of the Tibetans, of encouraging the self-immolations and agitating for separatism, but he and the Tibetan government-in-exile say such protests are aimed at combatting religious repression and strict Chinese control of the area, the BBC reports.

More from GlobalPost: What does a trend of self-immolations tell us?