Exiles say that a 16-year-old school boy Dorje Tsering set himself on fire on Tuesday morning in Dehradun and is now being treated for severe burns in New Delhi.
More than 140 Tibetans have died in the same way over the past several years to protest Chinese rule in Tibet – a movement the Dalai Lama has called “cultural genocide“.
The Tibetan suffered burns over 98% of his body and died late on Thursday, said Pankaj, an official at New Delhi’s government-run Safdarjung hospital. Pankaj uses one name.
“(My son) saw self-immolation as a last resort, but young Tibetans should not self-immolate, instead they should study and work for Tibet”, she said in a video released by the Norway-based Voice of Tibet. The protests are seen as an extreme expression of the anger and frustration felt by many Tibetans living under heavy-handed Chinese rule.
According to the People’s Daily, the planned railway would connect the Tibetan Autonomous Region’s capital of Lhasa with Sichuan’s provincial capital of Chengdu.
China claims Tibet has been part of its territory since the mid-13th century, although many Tibetans say they were effectively independent for most of their history, and that the Chinese government wants to exploit their resource-rich region while crushing their cultural identity.
The Dalai Lama says he is against all violence.
Tens of thousands of Tibetans refugees live in Indian settlements, the biggest of which is in southern Karnataka state.
Along with facilitating trade and tourism, the existing railway to Tibet has cemented Chinese control over the territory, which was occupied by Communist forces in 1950.