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Tibetan monk confesses spreading shooting rumors
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A Tibetan monk has confessed that he made up and spread rumors that police had shot a young Tibetan who set himself on fire last Friday in southwest China's Sichuan Province, police said Thursday.

Jangkor, a monk at the Kirti Monastery in the Aba County of the Tibetan-Qiang Autonomous Prefecture of Aba, said that he lied to "create greater disturbances so as to attract attention from overseas."

The lama who set himself alight on a street in the Aba county seat at 1:38 p.m. Friday was 24-year-old Tashi (also called Tapey or Tape), a Buddhist student at the Kirti Monastery.

When police saw the incident, they put out the fire and sent the young man to hospital. He was transferred to the People's Hospital of the Aba Prefecture 200 km away at 6 p.m. Friday. Eight senior doctors and nurses were called to treat Tashi.

"He was in a very dangerous condition when he was first sent here. More than half of his body had been burnt, and he was in very serious shock," Shen Yongcai, a physician at the hospital's surgery department, told Xinhua Thursday.

"He came back to life after 12 hours' treatment," he said. "He is out of danger now."

Nurse Chen Sulan, aged 49, had been attending Tashi.

"He has a strong desire for survival now. He asks for water and fruits of his own accord every day. He also cooperates well in the treatment," she said.

Despite the signs of recovery, doctors at the hospital proposed that Tashi should be moved to a better hospital for fear of infection, Shen said.

Therefore, Tashi, along with his mother and three doctors and nurses, was transferred Thursday to the West China Hospital under the Sichuan University in the provincial capital of Chengdu, one of the best hospitals in Sichuan.

"From the bottom of my heart, I very much appreciate the doctors, nurses and the government officials in Aba," Tashi's mother, 44-year-old Mekar, told Xinhua Thursday.

Tashi's relatives were informed by police about his self-immolation soon after the incident Friday afternoon, and Mekar has spent much of her time in the past days in hospitals looking after her son.

"I'm heartbroken to see his injuries. He is very silly," she said.

A "Tibet independence" group, the New York-based "Students for a Free Tibet", claimed last Friday that police fired three shots at Tashi and quickly took his body, but Mekar dismissed the report.

She said she had asked her son "whether someone shot you" that afternoon.

"He told me 'that didn't happen'," she said.

Doctor Shen told Xinhua that they did not find any other injuries except for burns.

Two police officers in the Aba county, Zhou Mu and Peng Ning, who handled the self-immolation incident that afternoon, said they did not hear gun fire.

"It seemed that Tashi had poured gasoline onto his body beforehand. He was very numb at the time," said Zhou, the first officer at the scene.

Guo Qihua, a boss of a hardware shop only 10 meters away from the self-immolation site, said her husband was at the shop Friday afternoon.

"He said he didn't hear gun shots, and the fire was put out quickly," she said.

Another witness, a shoe polisher Li Yungui who works nearby, also told Xinhua Thursday that he did not hear any sound of guns.

"I was polishing shoes and I saw the whole thing. I heard no gun shots, only the sound of the fire extinguisher," he said.

(Xinhua News Agency March 5 ,2009)

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