Two young Tibetan monks have died after setting themselves ablaze as self-immolation protests against Chinese rule escalated ahead of Xi Jinping's take over as president at the annual legislature session.
Reports put out by overseas Tibet groups said two Tibetan monks in their early twenties set themselves on fire in protest during the prayers to mark the end of the Tibetan New Year festival on Monday.
The America-based International Campaign for Tibet said one of the monks self-immolated outside a temple in Luqu county in north western Gansu province on Monday, while the other set himself ablaze a day earlier at a monastery in neighbouring Qinghai province.
Both the monks died after getting severely burnt. The two immolations take the number of such incidents to 106 since 2009. This is the second such incident in which two immolations were reported despite intensified crackdown by Chinese authorities against those who were instigating people to commit suicides.
Seven people, including two monks, have been sentenced in recent months for persuading people to commit self-immolations.
Besides protesting the Chinese rule, those who resorted to immolations also shouted slogans for the return of the Dalai Lama, according to the Tibetan groups.
While there were no reports about the fresh wave of protests in official media in Beijing, the spurt in numbers coincides with the National People's Congress meeting in March first week during which a new government headed by Xi would take over.
The number of protests went up in November last year when Xi was elected as the new General Secretary of the ruling Communist Party of China.
China has been accusing the Dalai Lama clique for instigating the protests.