Six Tibetans in various regions in China committed self-immolation Wednesday, a day before the start of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in Beijing.
Though the Tibetans in China and abroad have been resorting to self-immolation since 2008 to protest against the Chinese invasion of their territory, it is the first time five such incidents were reported on a single day.
According to a Voice of America report, three monks -- Dorji, 15, Samdrup, 16, and Dorji Kyab, 16, from Ngoshul monastery set themselves on fire in front of a police station in Ngaba, Sichuan province, at 3 p.m. (local time) while Tamding Tso, a 23-year-old Tibetan mother, died in Rebkong after she burnt herself.
In similar incidents, two other Tibetan men reportedly set themselves ablaze -- one in Banker village in Driru county while details about the second man were not known, the Tibetan Government in Exile said.
"It is confirmed that this is the sixth, that he has immolated, but we don't have details about his age or name," said Lobsang Choedak, spokesman for the Tibetan Government in Exile, ABC News reported.
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Three of the six protestors succumbed to their burns while the others were admitted to hospitals in a critical condition.
While setting themselves ablaze, all the protesters reportedly demanded freedom for Tibet and called for the return of the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, to the region. The Dalai Lama has been living in exile in a Tibetan settlement in India since 1959 after a Chinese crackdown forced him to flee Tibet.
In a desperate attempt to bring the international attention to the Tibetan issue and force China to free Tibet, the Tibetans have been burning themselves to death in and outside China.
According to human rights groups, more than 68 people have set themselves on fire since 2009 in protest against China.
A Tibetan artist burned himself to death last week in Tongren in Qinghai province.
Yeshi, 26, another Tibetan man, died after he set himself on fire at a Tibetan protest rally just hours before Chinese President Hu Jintao's arrival in New Delhi, India, to participate in the fourth BRICS summit in March 2012.
Despite the international pressure from the U.S. and other countries, the Chinese have continued their repression of the Tibetan movement. China blames the Dalai Lama for fomenting the Tibetan unrest and encouraging self-immolations while the Dalai Lama has been saying that he denounces violence and self-immolations are the result of oppressive Chinese policies in the region.