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China's crackdown grows as Tibetan self-immolations increase

• ChristianScienceMonitor.Com
The young man's hands began to shake, and he tugged at his fingers to keep them still. The 20-year-old ethnic Tibetan was terrified of the police finding out that he'd spoken about the Buddhist monks who've been burning themselves alive.

"They're doing it because they want freedom," said the man, a livestock trader who asked that his name not be used because of safety concerns.

He paused before adding, "Because we want freedom."

Since March, according to rights groups, 10 Tibetan Buddhist clergy have set themselves on fire in China's western Sichuan province. Almost all those have come in or around the town of Aba, 50 miles as the crow flies to the west of Hongyuan, amid mountain ranges at the edge of the Tibetan plateau where yaks graze and prayer flags inscribed with mantras and blessings flap in the wind.

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