Tibetan Buddhist monks lie under a banner showing flames during a political enactment depicting the spate of self immolations in Tibet. Picture: AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia

Beijing- A former Tibetan Buddhist monk has set himself on fire in the mountainous region of Tibet, the 12th Tibetan this year to resort to the extreme form of protest in China.

Tenzin Phuntsog set himself ablaze in the Changdu prefecture in the Tibet Autonomous Region – the first time a self-immolation has occurred in the Himalayan plateau, the Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet says on Friday, citing exiled Tibetan sources.

The monk survived the incident and is in hospital.

Accounts of the incident were posted on microblogs and Facebook.

The other 11 Tibetan monks and nuns, some former clergy, who had set themselves on fire since March this year, were said to have called for the return of the 76-year-old Dalai Lama, who fled to exile in India in 1959, and for freedom for Tibet. At least six of the incidents have been fatal.

A government official from Tibet said: “We have not got any information about the case.” Police in the Changdu prefecture declined to comment, saying they never answer questions from reporters.

The former monk was from the Karma monastery in the town of Chamdo, the International Campaign for Tibet said, citing a source, adding that other sources had told the group the monastery was under lockdown after a rumoured bomb blast at a local government building in late October.

The group’s account could not be independently verified because foreign reporters are not allowed to travel to the Tibet Autonomous Region without permission. The Chinese government has yet to organise a trip this year.

China’s Foreign Ministry has branded the self-immolators “terrorists” and has said the Dalai Lama, whom it condemns as a supporter of violent separatism, should take the blame for the “immoral” burnings. – Reuters