A Tibetan taxi driver has set herself on fire and died in the latest of dozens of protests against Chinese rule over the Himalayan region, overseas rights groups said.
Chagmo Kyi, a mother of two, self-immolated on Saturday afternoon in a square in Tongren County in western China’s Qinghai Province, the eighth self-immolation in the area since Nov. 4, the Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet said in an e-mail.
According to the group, 75 people have self-immolated in ethnically Tibetan areas since February 2009, and most of them have died.
Tibet support groups overseas say an increase in protests over the past two weeks was meant to highlight Tibetans’ unhappiness with Chinese rule as its leaders handed over power to younger successors at the Chinese Communist Party’s 18th Party Congress in Beijing.
Tibetan delegates attending the party congress told reporters they believed much of the blame for the spate of self-immolations fell on the Dalai Lama, Tibetans’ spiritual leader, and his associates, whom they said were instigating the protests. The Dalai Lama and representatives of the Tibetan government-in-exile in India say they oppose all violence.
The International Campaign for Tibet reported that hundreds of Tibetans were surrounded by troops as they attended Chagmo Kyi’s cremation at a site normally used for the cremation of monks and lamas.
The group said the woman had frequently driven between Tongren and Xining, the provincial capital, and was also a farmer.
London-based Free Tibet also reported the self-immolation, and said at least 20 trucks, each carrying 20 armed police officers, were stationed at intersections in Tongren’s capital, Rongwo, where people have previously self-immolated.
It also said there were reports of cars, each with about five government officials inside, positioned every 20 paces along most streets, monitoring the population.