A young Tibetan monk set himself on fire Monday in a remote western town to protest Chinese policies, the fourth monk from Kirti Monastery to self-immolate this year, according to a Tibet advocacy group based in London.

The group, Free Tibet, said in a news release that the monk, Kalsang, set himself ablaze at 2 p.m. in a vegetable market in the town of Aba, known in Tibetan as Ngaba. Kalsang was holding a picture of the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled religious leader, at the time and called for religious freedom, the group said. Security officers extinguished the flames. the group said, but the monk's condition was unclear.

Free Tibet did not specify the sources of its information. There was no immediate comment from Chinese officials, and no mention of the self-immolation in China's state-run press.

The first self-immolation this year at Kirti, a monastery that was at the heart of local protests against the authorities in 2008, occurred on March 16, when Phuntsog, a 20-year-old monk, killed himself. On Sept. 26, two other young monks at Kirti set themselves on fire, but were believed at the time to have survived. One of the two monks, Lobsang Kalsang, was a brother of Phuntsog.

Prior to this year, the only known instance of a monk setting himself on fire in recent times occurred at Kirti in Feb. 2009. The monk, Tapey, survived after his flames were extinguished by security officers.

A local court gave three monks long prison sentences in August and September for what it said was their roles in the death of Phuntsog. One of the monks was an uncle of Phuntsog.

Aba is in Sichuan Province, which contains large swaths of the Tibetan area known as Kham. The Tibetans of Kham, known as Khampas, have a reputation for impassioned ferocity. In spring of 2008, many Khampas took part in a widespread uprising against Chinese rule that began with protests and riots in Lhasa, the Tibetan capital.

On Saturday, Tibetans in the town of Seda in Sichuan Province, known in Tibetan as Serthar, hung a large picture of the Dalai Lama from a central building, according to a blog post by Woeser, a Tibetan writer who lives in Beijing. Images of the Dalai Lama are illegal anywhere in China, including in Chinese-ruled areas of Tibet. When the authorities took down the picture and a Tibetan flag, about 200 Tibetans held a peaceful protest in the streets.

Leaflets were passed around that called for resistance to China. A translation by High Peaks Pure Earth, a blog that tracks Tibet news, said the first two lines of one leaflet were: "Tibetan brethren do not fall asleep under the oppression of the Chinese. Fight for the your religion, language and customs."