Police detained a monk and his nephew in Sichuan province and accused them of instigating the self-immolations of eight ethnic Tibetans on the instructions of the Dalai Lama and his followers, state media reported yesterday.
Xinhua did not detail what evidence police had of the exiled spiritual leader’s involvement – which was denied by the self-declared Tibetan government-in-exile in northern India.
The report cited a police statement as saying that confessions and an investigation showed that the detained monk, Lorang Konchok, 40, from Kirti monastery in Sichuan’s Aba county, kept in contact with supporters of the Dalai Lama overseas and had recruited eight volunteers for self-immolation since 2009. Three of the protesters died, it said.
The statement said Lorang Konchok collected photos and personal information of volunteers who agreed to go ahead with the protests. “He also promised to spread their ‘deeds’ abroad so they and their families would be acknowledged and honoured,” it said.
The monk’s nephew, Lorang Tsering, 31, helped recruit volunteers and was also arrested, the report said.
Activists say more than 90 ethnic Tibetans have set themselves on fire since 2009 in dramatic protests against Chinese rule.
The Tibetan government-in-exile, based in Dharamsala, India, said it “strongly denied” any accusations of involvement by its representatives or the Dalai Lama.
“We believe that [the suspects] have been forced to make these confessions,” spokesman Lobsang Choedak said. “We would welcome the Chinese government investigating whether we are instigating these immolations.”
Police in Sichuan declined to comment on the case.
The detentions came after a controversial legal document was issued last week, stipulating that anyone caught aiding or inciting self-immolations could face murder charges.
The joint legal opinion issued by China’s supreme court, top prosecution body and the public security ministry said the charge of “intentional murder” should apply to anyone urging Tibetans to set themselves alight, Gannan Daily reported. The daily is the local government-run newspaper in Gannan prefecture, in the northwestern Gansu province, where many of last month’s burnings took place.
A spokeswoman from the London-based group Free Tibet said there had been no evidence that self-immolation happened in a co-ordinated way.Source: SCMP “First arrests for inciting Tibetan self-immolations since crime ruled murder”
- Monk arrested for inciting immolation (bigpondnews.com)
- Report: Police in China detain monk, accuse him of inciting self-immolations among Tibetans (vancouverdesi.com)
- 57th Tibetan sets himself on fire to fight for a free Tibet, that is less and less likely (chinadailymail.com)