Tibetan who burned herself to death had head injury, China says
March 7, 2012 -- Updated 1142 GMT (1942 HKT)
Tibetans display portraits of people who killed themselves in self-immolation, during a protest in front of the Liberty Square in Taipei in October 2011.
- China says a Tibetan who set herself on fire had lost "her courage for life"
- Tibetan rights groups say Tibetans are self-immolating to protest Chinese rule
- Three Tibetans reportedly burned themselves to death between Saturday and Monday
- This month marks the anniversary of Tibetan protests in 2008 that ended in bloodshed
(CNN) -- A Tibetan student who died after setting herself on fire in western China had been experiencing difficulties following a head injury, the official Chinese news agency reported Wednesday.
The student, Tsering Kyi, was the first of three Tibetans who reportedly self-immolated between Saturday and Monday. It is the only one of the three alleged acts so far acknowledged by the Chinese authorities.
Tibetan advocacy groups say the self-immolations -- more than 20 of which are reported to have taken place in the past year -- are to protest Chinese rule.
They follow an increase in security measures by the Chinese authorities in response to unrest among Tibetans in western areas of China in recent months and ahead of the sensitive anniversary of protests by Tibetan monks four years ago that ended in bloodshed.
New realities for Tibetans in China
Tibet officials fired for neglect
CNN story blacked out in China
Activists say the disturbing acts reflect an increasingly repressive environment under China's control. Beijing rejects accusations of oppression of Tibetans, saying that under its rule living standards have greatly improved for the Tibetan people.
Chinese officials have described the self-immolations as "extreme" acts. The report Wednesday by Xinhua, the government news agency, suggested Tsering Kyi, 20, had been troubled by the aftereffects of a head injury before she set herself on fire in the county of Maqu, or Machu in Tibetan, in Gansu Province.
"She was sent to hospital and has had occasional fainting spells," Xinhua reported, citing the local police. "The medical treatment held up her studies and her school scores began to decline, which put a lot of pressure on her and made her lose her courage for life and study."
A local official said similarities in the self-immolations point to a transparent political motive and behind-the-scenes orchestration, Xinhua reported. The victims were used by separatists to create chaos, according to Wu Zegang, chief of the Aba prefecture in Sichuan province.
On Sunday, a mother of four named Rinchen died after setting herself alight in front of Kirti Monastery in the county of Aba, which Tibetans call Ngaba, in Sichuan Province, according to Tibetan advocacy groups like London-based Free Tibet.
And on Monday, an 18-year-old Tibetan man named Dorje burned himself to death in a nomadic area of Aba, according to advocacy groups. Local officials reached by telephone declined to comment on the matter.
It was not possible to independently verify the accounts of the self-immolations. China restricts journalists' access to the areas where they have been taking place.
This month will mark the fourth anniversary of protest marches by Tibetan monks in Lhasa that ended violently in 2008.
Tibetans say the situation escalated to violence when Chinese police beat monks who had been protesting peacefully; Chinese authorities claim Tibetans launched attacks on Chinese businesses. Officially the death toll is under 20; Tibetans in exile say the death toll is near 150.
Part of complete coverage on
As China's annual parliamentary meetings kick off, Beijing gauges progress on key economic reforms outlined last year.
March 7, 2014 -- Updated 0719 GMT (1519 HKT)
For some local Hong Kongers, the local economy is being geared to the needs of cashed-up Chinese day-trippers, rather than locals.
March 6, 2014 -- Updated 1027 GMT (1827 HKT)
Vladimir Putin is seeking China's support in Russia's standoff with Western powers over Ukraine.
February 27, 2014 -- Updated 0824 GMT (1624 HKT)
What's the story with WeChat, the messaging app taking China by storm?
February 28, 2014 -- Updated 0501 GMT (1301 HKT)
Outgoing U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke speaks to CNN about his time in China.
February 26, 2014 -- Updated 0449 GMT (1249 HKT)
Limited investment options in China means real estate has been a popular choice for consumers looking to expand their portfolios.
February 27, 2014 -- Updated 0140 GMT (0940 HKT)
It's sexy, sophisticated, skintight, and started as a Chinese feminist statement. Here's the story of China's "cheongsam"
February 25, 2014 -- Updated 0911 GMT (1711 HKT)
Linkedin, the networking site for professionals, has done what few other foreign online services have achieved -- it has successfully set up its China operations.
February 25, 2014 -- Updated 0408 GMT (1208 HKT)
With its tradition of free speech, Hong Kongers pride themselves on their strong opinions -- but now local journalists say they are being shut up.
February 25, 2014 -- Updated 1019 GMT (1819 HKT)
Beijingers are once again choking as smog levels hit "heavy or even worse" levels in the capital and other cities across the country.
February 21, 2014 -- Updated 1349 GMT (2149 HKT)
China has urged U.S. President Barack Obama to call off a meeting at the White House with Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.
February 19, 2014 -- Updated 1205 GMT (2005 HKT)
Far from being censored, the U.S. political drama 'House of Cards' is widely available in China -- and surprisingly popular.
February 19, 2014 -- Updated 0833 GMT (1633 HKT)
Like many companies in China, Fu Shou Yuan uses celebrities to attract clients. Except, in this case, they're dead.
February 19, 2014 -- Updated 0319 GMT (1119 HKT)
On the Reporters Without Borders map of global press freedom, China appears as one big black spot.
February 18, 2014 -- Updated 1312 GMT (2112 HKT)
The panda was whipped by zookeepers, was fed corn cakes instead of bamboo, and lived in a home full of feces, say visitors.
February 19, 2014 -- Updated 0212 GMT (1012 HKT)
A Miami artist has destroyed a $1 million Ai Weiwei vase as a "spontaneous protest."
February 17, 2014 -- Updated 0946 GMT (1746 HKT)
Two Russian thrillseekers scaled the unfinished Shanghai Tower in the city's financial district -- and lived to tell the tale.
Today's five most popular stories