Dalai Lama prays for Tibetans in China

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Tibetan exile monks sit on a daylong hunger strike in New Delhi, India, to express solidarity with the plight of the Tibetan people in Tibet, Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2011.A Tibetan nun has set herself on fire in western China, the latest in a series of self-immolations among the region's Buddhist clergy, an advocacy group said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

DHARMSALA, India (AP) — The Dalai Lama has led prayers in honor of nine Tibetans who set themselves on fire in apparent protest against China's tight grip over Buddhist practices in Tibet.

The Tibetan spiritual leader was participating in a prayer service in the northern Indian town of Dharmsala on Wednesday in honor of the nine monks and former monks and a nun who have self-immolated since March.

Also at the service, the newly elected prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile urged Beijing to end repression in Tibet. Lobsang Sangay also called on the United Nations to send fact-finding teams to the Himalayan region.

China says Tibet has always been part of its territory, but many Tibetans say the region was virtually independent for centuries.