The wave of self-immolations that began in Tibet two weeks ago has taken the life of another young Tibetan, the 17th in 16 days who has burned himself to death in protest against the oppression of Communist authorities and as a plea for Tibetan independence.

As the Tibetan news agency in exile Phayul reported Friday, the 18-year-old youth, Lubum Gyal, immolated himself the day before in the western Chinese province of Qinghai, which borders the autonomous region of Tibet.

The death by burning occurred around 4:00 p.m. in the city of Dowa, located in an area whose inhabitants are mostly ethnic Tibetans.

The official news agency Xinhua also reported the incident, though some of the details differ from those in the Phayul account - the Chinese agency identifies the victim as "Libong Tsering," 19.

This latest tragedy comes after another two Tibetans, ages 25 and 35, set fire to themselves in separate incidents, one in Qinghai and the other in Gansu, a little more to the north.

According to the Phayul database, 10 of the 17 immolations so far this month took place in the Qinghai region, the same where at the beginning of November thousands of people took part in demonstrations demanding Tibetan freedom and the return of their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, currently exiled in India.

The latest cases bring the death toll from self-immolations to 79 since 2009, according to figures provided by Phayul, an alarming stuation that has led the international community to urge the Chinese government to "do something."

China has considered Tibet part of its country for centuries through dynastic unions and conquests of the imperial period, though for exiled Tibetans the "Roof of the World" was virtually independent until it was occupied by the Red Army in the early 1950s. EFE