April 20 (Bloomberg) -- Two Tibetan herdsmen died after setting themselves on fire in the Aba prefecture of China’s Sichuan province, bringing the number of self-immolations in the area to at least 25, a rights group said.
People who gathered around the dead men, identified as Cheopak Kyap and Sonan, blocked police from taking the bodies away, the International Campaign for Tibet said in an e-mailed statement yesterday, citing exiled Tibetans it did not identify. The group said the self-immolations occurred near a monastery in the Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture.
Tibetans accuse China of attacking their culture, religion and environment with policies that have moved thousands of ethnic Han Chinese into Tibet in the name of economic development.
The International Campaign for Tibet said the two men were related. The local government website had no information about the incident and calls to the Aba government went unanswered.
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.
A Tibetan protester set himself on fire in central New Delhi last month in protest over the Chinese President Hu Jintao’s visit to India.
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