Tibetan monk commits self-immolation in China

Beijing: A Tibetan monk has committed self- immolation, taking the total number to 15 in recent months apparently seeking the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet as China tightened control of the Buddhist monasteries to prevent the recurring suicide attempts.

40-year-old Nyage Sonamdrugyu was the latest Tibetan monk to die due to self-immolation in China`s northwest Qinghai Province.

So far 15 monks, including two nuns, have set themselves on fire during the last few months apparently to protest curbs and to demand the return of the Tibetan spiritual leader, who is based in Dharamshala since 1959.

However, the state-run Xinhua news agency today said that Sonamdrugyu took the extreme measures out of shame when his love affair with a local woman was exposed.

He set himself ablaze early on Sunday at an intersection Gyumai town, the county seat of the Tibetan-concentrated Darlag.

The suicide followed the death of one "former" Buddhist monk who set himself on fire and unsuccessful bid by another in southwest China`s Sichuan province two days ago.

Chinese officials alleged the two monks were involved in "thefts".

"The several self-immolation cases recently were committed by people who previously were punished for their wrongdoings such as whoring, gambling and burglary, or deep in debt because of gambling," Gang Zheng, a Tibetology expert with the Sichuan Tibetology Research Centre, alleged in the report.

A spokesman with the county committee of the Communist Party of China said Sonamdrugyu was a "self-claimed" living Buddha of the Gelugpa sect, who allegedly committed suicide because his secret love affair with a local woman was discovered.