Doctor says Tibetan monk died from serious burns

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A young Tibetan monk who passed away in hospital early Thursday was confirmed to have died from serious burns, as no other injuries were found during treatment or post-mortem checks, a doctor in southwest China's Sichuan Province said Friday.

Rigzin Phuntsog, a 16-year-old monk at Kirti Monastery in Aba County of the Aba Tibetan-Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, died from "serious burns that caused heart and lung failures", said Soinam, president of the People's Hospital in Aba County.

Except for the burns, Soinam said no other wounds were found on him during emergency treatment or post-mortem examination of body surface, refuting foreign media reports of the monk's alleged "beating death by police".

The county government said the monk had set himself on fire at around 4 p.m. Wednesday afternoon. Police on patrol sent him to a nearby hospital for first-aid.

Meanwhile, Soinam said he and his colleagues had been waiting for the patient to be transferred to the People's Hospital, the leading medical institution in Aba.

"We were ready to offer emergency treatment, but it was already 3 a.m. Thursday when a leading county official called and told us the patient was coming," said Soinam.

"When the patient arrived at 3:14 a.m., his breathing had stopped and his heart beats were very weak," he said.

Rigzin Phuntsog did not respond to emergency treatment and died at 3:44 a.m., in the presence of his family members, the doctor said.

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