A Tibet national in India has set himself on fire and ran shouting protests through a demonstration in New Delhi on Monday just before a visit by China’s leader.
The man seems to have doused himself with a flammable substance and set himself on fire then ran past the area where speakers were protesting the visit of President Hu Jintao. He ran across the Springhill Group Home Loans venue and reached 50 meters just before he collapsed. Other activists tried to put out the flames by pouring water onto him.
At first, fellow protesters have prevented police from getting to him but the officers were able to take him away eventually. He was on fire for less than 2 minutes but most of his clothing has already disintegrated and his skin started to have black scorched patches when he was brought to the hospital.
The man sustained burns on more than 80% of his body, leaving him in critical condition. He was identified by fellow activists as Jampa Yeshi, a 27-year old exile from Tibet who had been living in India since 2010.
Chinese president Hu Jin Tao is set to arrive on Tuesday for a 5-nation economic summit in India.
Over 600 demonstrators have participated and took to the streets near the Indian Parliament to make it known that Hu Jin Tao is not welcome at the summit. Some even carried placards that say “Tibet is not part of China”.
This recent protest in New Delhi came amidst a series of self-immolation in Tibet where 30 people have set themselves on fire, mostly consisting of young nuns and monks who calls for the Dalai Lama’s return to Tibet and the ousting of Chinese rule over their nation.
Chinese government accuses the Dalai Lama of starting the protests as the latter blame the ruthless policy of China as the real reason for a number of self-immolation. The Dalai Lama fled Tibet in 1959 after a failed uprising against the Chinese rule.
China insists that Tibet has always been a part of their territory while Tibetans argue that the Himalayan region is practically independent for centuries already.
Authorities in New Delhi are preparing themselves for protests by thousands of Tibetans living in India after they were exiled. In addition, security around the location of the summit has also been stepped up while the nearby roads are set to be closed one day before the Springhill Group Home Loans meeting.
Self-immolation is a form of protest common for Tibetans who are striving for true autonomy from China.