BEIJING - A VIDEO
(graphic content in the video, viewer discretion advised) of unrest at a Tibetan monastery in China where a monk burnt himself to death has surfaced, with overseas activists saying it refutes Chinese government claims that the situation there is normal.
The video obtained by the Voice of America's Tibetan service and posted on its website appears to show heavy security patrolling around the Kirti monastery in a Tibetan region of south-western China's Sichuan province.
It also shows what the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) called the first footage of the young monk whose self-immolation last month touched off demonstrations that rights groups say provoked a heavy security crackdown.
Quoting its sources in the region, the US-based ICT also said in a statement on Thursday that authorities had launched an 'intensive 'patriotic education' campaign' at Kirti. It said police, soldiers and officials went through the monastery this week, questioning monks and beating those whose answers were 'not as the officials and soldiers required'.
A monk in his early 20s identified as Phuntsog set himself on fire in Kirti on March 16 to mark the third anniversary of violent Tibetan riots against Chinese rule, triggering the demonstrations and causing security forces to seal off the monastery.
In one segment of the video, a young monk said to be Phuntsog sits in a car, still alive but apparently in shock with severe burns covering his body and his hair burned off. AFP was unable to independently verify the authenticity of the footage.