BEIJING (AP) — Chinese state media say police have detained a monk and his nephew in the southwestern province of Sichuan and accused them of instigating the self-immolations of eight ethnic Tibetans.

The official Xinhua News Agency on Sunday cited a police statement saying that 40-year-old monk Lorang Konchok from the Kirti Monastery confessed that he acted on the instructions of Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and his followers.

The Tibetan government-in-exile denied any involvement by it or the Dalai Lama.

Activists say more than 90 ethnic Tibetans have set themselves on fire since 2009 to protest authoritarian Chinese rule.

Chinese officials have attempted to blame the acts on the Dalai Lama, while activists say they are home-grown protests against oppression. The Dalai Lama has said he opposes all violence.