Tibetan Protester Sets Himself on Fire to Protest Hu India Visit

A Tibetan protester set himself on fire in central New Delhi today in protest over the visit to India this week of Chinese President Hu Jintao.

The 27-year-old man has 90 percent burns and has been taken to a local hospital, Rajan Bhagat, a police spokesman, said in a phone interview. A crowd of Tibetan protesters carrying banners and posters had marched to a spot near India’s parliament before the incident, he said.

As speakers addressed a crowd of about 600 people, the man set himself ablaze and ran about 50 meters before he collapsed, the Associated Press reported today.

Tibetans say China is attacking their culture, religion and environment with policies that have moved thousands of ethnic Han Chinese into Tibet in the name of economic development.

Protests have increased since riots broke out across the region in 2008. In one of the latest incidents in China, a Tibetan monk set himself ablaze in northwestern Qinghai province March 14, surviving after security guards intervened, Xinhua News Agency said.

Tibet’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama has lived in northern India since fleeing in 1959 from China’s military takeover of the region. China accuses the Dalai Lama of waging a campaign for independence while the spiritual leader says he is seeking autonomy for Tibet.

Hu will join other leaders of the so-called BRICS nations for a summit meeting later this week.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Macaskill in New Delhi at amacaskill@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Hirschberg at phirschberg@bloomberg.net

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