A Buddhist monk of British nationality has self-immolated and died in a Tibetan monastery in France, in an apparent copycat of similar acts committed thousands of miles away against Chinese aggression in Tibet.

Police in the southern French city of Toulouse told Agence-France Presse that the 38-year-old monk poured petrol over himself and set his body on fire on Thursday.

The dead man, who remains unidentified, lived at the Nalanda monastery near the village of Labastide-Saint-Georges for the past five years.

Tibetan activist and exile Jamphel Yeshi, 27, lies on the ground as fellow protesters attempt to douse the flames. Yeshi set himself on fire to protest the visit of China President Hu Jintao, who met in India with the BRICS nations. Photo: Reuters

However, it is unclear if there was political motive behind the self-immolation.

“We believe he may have been making a political gesture related to Tibet, but an investigation will be carried out to establish the full facts,” Gendarmerie Col. Pierre Bouquin said, according to the Daily Mail. 

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Since March of last year, more than 30 Tibetans have committed suicide in a similar fashion to protest China's brutal occupation of Tibet.

Chinese officials have called the acts of self-immolation a form of “terrorism” and blamed the exiled Dalai Lama for encouraging them.

In response, China has upgraded its security presence in Tibetan regions.