Two men set themselves on fire in the Tibetan city of Lhasa on Sunday, Chinese state media said, confirming earlier reports. One of the men died and the other "survived with injuries", Xinhua news agency said.
The self-immolations are thought to be the first in Lhasa and the second inside Tibet. But they follow a series of self-immolations, mostly involving monks and nuns, in Tibetan areas outside Tibet, says BBC News.
The monks had been among several Tibetan youths who gathered outside the Jokhang temple, a popular destination for Tibetan pilgrims, when they set themselves on fire. Security forces descended on the scene and cleared the area within minutes.
"The security forces arrived immediately and put out the fire and all the tourists in the area were cordoned off from the site," an eyewitness said. "Within 15 minutes, the area was cleaned and not a trace of the incident was left at the site.", according to myfoxny.com.
Xinhua, which did not identify the men as monks, said Dargye was from Aba county in southwest China's Sichuan province, where many of the recent self-immolations have taken place. Aba is home to the Kirti monastery, which has been under virtual lockdown since a young monk named Phuntsog set light to himself and died in March 2011, sparking mass protests there.
Xinhua named the dead man as Tobgye Tseten, from Gansu province, which borders Sichuan and also has a large population of ethnic Tibetans. Radio Free Asia quoted a source as saying the situation in Lhasa was now "very tense" and the city was filled with police and paramilitary forces, informs Naharnet Newsdesk.
"These self-immolations are very troubling for the Chinese because it is a new method of protest that is very hard to prevent." Tibetans have long chafed under China's rule over the vast Tibetan plateau, accusing Beijing of curbing religious freedoms and eroding their culture and language.
The tensions have intensified over the past year, but Beijing insists that Tibetans enjoy religious freedom and have benefited from improved living standards brought on by China's economic expansion. Beijing has accused overseas organisations of seeking independence for Tibet and blamed the Dalai Lama - Tibet's exiled spiritual leader - for the unrest, including a series of protests against Chinese rule earlier this year, reports Gulf Today.