TIBET.— On Monday, 18 year-old monks, Lobsang Kalsang and Lobsang Konchok, from the Kirti monastery in Sichuan province’s Aba prefectuture set themselves on fire in protest to China’s tight control on Buddhist practices.
The Free Tibet campaign said in a statement that the monks called for religious freedom shouting, “We need freedom of religion! Long live the Dalai Lama!” before they set themselves on fire.
Both monks suffered slight burns but are said to be in stable condition.
Lobsang Kelsang is the brother of 21-year-old Kirti monk, Rigzin Phuntsog, who died this March after setting himself on fire. Phuntsog’s self-immolation was also in protest to China’s harsh control of Tibetan Buddhism.
The monk’s death ignited a harsh crackdown with security forces detaining nearly 300 Tibetan monks.
“This shows not only the level of suffering and desperation of Tibetans but also the extreme actions they are willing to take to draw the world’s attention to the situation in Tibet,” said Free Tibet.
Aba has been the scene of a number of protests against the Chinese government over the past several years. Most protests are led by monks loyal to Tibet’s exiled Buddhist leader, the Dalai Lama.
Recent protests have arisen concerning the selection of the successor of the Dalia Lama.
Beijing reportedly wants to pick its own successor who supports China’s policies. China has repeatedly accused the Dalai Lama of being a separatist leader who supports violence.
The Dalai Lama rejects this accusation, insisting that he is only seeking autonomy for Tibet, particularly in its selection of leaders.
According to Free Tibet, over the past six months at least four monks have chosen self-immolation in Tibet to protest China’s strict control of their religion.