An unidentified Tibetan monk reportedly set himself on fire on a busy street in west China on Saturday (15 April), demanding Tibet's freedom and opposing Chinese rule over the region.

A video of the incident has been circulating on social media in which police is seen spraying a fire extinguisher on a burnt body lying on the ground and preventing crowds from gathering at the place.

Tibetan sources told Radio Free Asia that the incident took place at about 7.00am local time (12:00am BST) at the main square in Kardze, officially Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. The sources added that Chinese police immediately took the self-immolator away and his whereabouts remain unknown. It was also not known if the man survived.

The radio service said that it could not contact sources in Kardze to get more details on the incident and exiled Tibetans who maintain contacts in the region were also unsuccessful. One source said that the reason could be blockage of internet services following the incident.

The town has reportedly seen similar protests in the past, mainly focused on Tibet's freedom and the return of exiled religious leader, the Dalai Lama. The latest was on 18 March when a 24-year-old Tibetan farmer identified as Pema Gyaltsen also set himself on fire in Kardze. The fate of the man is still unknown.

Following the Saturday incident, the number of such protests since 2009 has reached 148, Radio Free Asia reported. Many of these have reportedly resulted in fatalities.

The Associated Press reported that local officials reached by phone said they were unaware of the incident.

A Tibetan monk has set himself on fire in Kardze, officially Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecturein, in west china on Saturday, 15 April, to press for Tibetan independence - File photo