A Tibetan man died when detonating a bomb in a government building in western China over the weekend, Radio Free Asia reported.
The man identified as Tashi, 32, part of the large Tibetan minority population concentrated in the western province of Sichuan, targeted a building used to monitor local residents, the report on Monday said, citing India-based Tibetans with contacts in the area.
"He died in the explosion that also damaged the building. The extent of damage on the government building is not clear," an India-based friend of Tashi told RFA.
The report did not say whether there were other people or casualties in the building at the time, nor report the extent of the damage to the building.
The state-controlled media in China normally does not report on ethnic unrest, so reports like this one typically get out by word of mouth. Radio Free Asia is a U.S. government broadcaster that beams news into undemocratic countries in the region.
Such acts of violence are rare in Tibet and Tibetan-populated areas, though the conflict with the Han Chinese authorities has been more severe since 2008, when a series of protests and demonstrations spread from the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, to other Tibetan areas and descended into rioting. The violence was largely aimed at Han civilians and was harshly suppressed by China’s paramilitary. The clashes left at least 10 dead officially and dozens more wounded — though some Tibet watchers say that the casualties were many times higher and that thousands of Tibetans have been arrested.
A more common form of protest among Tibetans has been self-immolation. According to records kept by The International Campaign for Tibet, a group advocating for human rights and democracy in Tibet, 10 Tibetans have set themselves on fire in the months of January and February alone.
China severely represses actions or expressions of support for Tibetan independence. The Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of Tibetans, fled in the early days of China’s Communist rule, where he has lived in exile ever since.
Ethnic tensions have increased in the past decade with Beijing’s "Open up the West" economic development campaign which has systematically increased the population Han Chinese living in traditionally Tibetan and other minority areas.
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