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China says two arrested for inciting self-immolations
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Dec 9, 2012

A monk and his nephew were detained for inciting eight Tibetan people to set themselves on fire in a restive Chinese region that has become a flashpoint for protests against Beijing's rule, state media said Sunday.

Police in southwest China's Sichuan Province, which has a large ethnic Tibetan population, detained a 40-year-old monk named as Lorang Konchok for "goading" the protests, which resulted in three deaths, Xinhua said.

He was held at Kirti Monastery in Aba County, which has been the focal point of a crackdown on separatism since anti-Chinese riots rocked the Tibetan plateau in 2008.

More than 90 Tibetans have set themselves on fire since 2009 to protest China's rule of the Tibetan plateau, rights groups have said, with the frequency of incidents increasing sharply in November.

The monk was acting on the instructions of the Dalai Lama and his followers, Xinhua said, citing the monk's "confession and police investigation".

Beijing has long-blamed the Tibetan spiritual leader for inciting the burnings as a means of realising Tibetan independence.

Since 2009, the monk was said to have passed information on self-immolations to a "media liaison team" linked to a "Tibet independence organization of the Dalai Lama group", the Xinhua report said.

"At the requests of the media liaison team, Lorang Konchok took advantage of his position and influence in the monastery and often encouraged others to self-immolate, telling local monks and followers that self-immolation was not against Buddhist doctrines and those who did it were 'heroes'," it added.

The monk also recruited Lorang Tsering, his 31-year-old nephew, in his efforts to encourage the protests, the report claimed.

State media reported earlier this month that China will charge anyone caught aiding or inciting Tibetan self-immolations with murder.

A joint legal opinion issued by China's supreme court, top prosecution body and police said the charge of "intentional murder" should apply to anyone urging Tibetans to set themselves alight, the state-run Gannan Daily reported.


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