A 16 year-old student has set himself on fire in a Tibetan region of China, according to London-based NGO Free Tibet.

Chakdor Kyab set himself on fire last Tuesday as he shouted slogans calling for freedom for Tibet and the return of the Dalai Lama, witnesses told the charity.

The current Dalai Lama is viewed as a dangerous separatist by Chinese authorities, though he says he only seeks greater autonomy for Tibet.

Bora Monastery. Photo: RFA.

Chakdor Kyab carried out his protest at Bora Monastery, which is located in the Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Gansu Province, north-central China.

He tried to run towards the government offices in town, but fell before he could reach them, US-backed Radio Free Asia reported last week.

Chinese police and security personnel quickly arrived to extinguish the flames and take him away.

Chakdor Kyab’s current condition is unknown.

Bora Monastery. Photo: RFA.

RFA also reported on Wednesday that authorities had imposed restrictions on the 16-year-old’s family, preventing them from inviting monks to hold religious rituals and blocking visitors wanting to offer condolences.

Self-immolations are a common form of protest against Chinese rule. Four Tibetans from Bora have set fire to themselves since 2009, according to the International Campaign for Tibet.

Catherine Lai

Catherine is a Canadian journalist and photographer who lived in Beijing for almost two years, working in TV and online media. Aside from Hong Kong and mainland affairs, she is also interested in urban spaces, art and feminism. She holds a BA in Literature and Art History from the University of British Columbia.