A Tibetan protester has been treated for severe burns after setting himself on fire in a demonstration before the Chinese president’s visit to India.
The male protester sprinted for 50m through New Delhi today engulfed in flames as hundreds demonstrated against China’s rule over Tibet.
Jamphel Yeshi carried out the self-immolation as he ran near the speakers at a rally near the Indian Parliament in the country’s capital.
The Tibetan sustained burns on 98 per cent of his body and his condition in hospital was described as critical today.
He was on fire perhaps less than two minutes, but some of his clothing had disintegrated and his skin was mottled with black, burned patches by the time he was driven to a hospital.
Yeshi, 27, escaped from Tibet in 2006 and had been living in New Delhi for the past two years, activists said.
He collapsed after around 50m as fellow protesters beat out the flames with Tibetan flags they were carrying.
Yeshi was later treated for severe burns at a New Delhi hopital, one Tibetan organiser said.
He made the dramatic protest as Chinese President Hu Jintao prepared to arrive in India later this week for a summit meeting.
More than 600 protesters, carrying banners and posters, marched across New Delhi to a central plaza near the Indian Parliament to hold a protest meeting.
Some carried posters saying ‘Tibet is burning’ and ‘Tibet is not part of China’.
At the protest venue a big poster featuring Mr Hu’s face with a bloody palm print on it said: ‘Hu Jin Tao is unwelcome’ at the summit.
As speakers addressed the crowd, the protester set himself ablaze and ran across the venue.
After witnessing the man set himself on fire, one onlooker, Tenzin Dorjee, said: ‘This is what China faces unless they give freedom to Tibet.’
At least 30 people in Tibet have set themselves on fire over the past year in protest at Chinese rule over their homeland.
The Dalai Lama has blamed China’s ‘ruthless policy’ for the self-immolations. China accuses the Dalai Lama of stirring up trouble.
China says Tibet has always been part of its territory. Tibetans say the Himalayan region was virtually independent for centuries.