It should be pointed out that self-immolation is a fairly new trend in Tibetan Buddhism. There don’t seem to have been any cases prior to the 90s, and the last few years has seen a very quick rise in the number of cases. ICT on the latest:
The Chinese state media reported the incident today and stated that both monks were still alive, although their whereabouts and welfare remain unknown. It is the third incident of self-immolation by Tibetan monks this year, and according to exile Tibetan sources, one of the monks is related to Phuntsog, the 20-year old Kirti monk who set fire to himself on March 16 leading to the current crackdown in the area.
The two monks, named by exiled Tibetan monks as Lobsang Kelsang and Lobsang Kunchok, set themselves on fire this morning at around 11am in Ngaba town, near Kirti monastery. According to exile Tibetan sources, they shouted slogans including calling for religious freedom. Police extinguished the flames and took them into custody.
In a statement released today from Chengdu, the Sichuan provincial capital, Xinhua stated that both monks were alive and receiving medical treatment for burns, although it was not possible to confirm this. As news of the incident emerged, some exile sources stated that one of the monks may have died before being taken away.
According to exile sources, both monks are approximately 18 years old, had been educated at the monastery for some years, and are from Me’uruma township in Ngaba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan.