Two detained in SW for inciting self-immolation

Updated: 2012-12-10 07:53

By Xinhua (China Daily)

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Police in Southwest China's Sichuan province have detained a monk and his nephew who were found to have incited a series of self-immolations, local police said on Sunday.

Lorang Konchok, a 40-year-old monk at the Kirti Monastery in Aba county, Sichuan, is alleged to have encouraged eight people to set themselves on fire, three of whom died, since 2009, said a police statement.

He acted on the instructions of the Dalai Lama and his followers, according to his own confession and a police investigation.

After a Kirti Monastery monk named Tapey self-immolated in February 2009, Lorang Konchok was contacted by figures with a media liaison team, a "Tibet independence" organization that follows the Dalai Lama, and he continuously sent the latter information about incidents of self-immolation.

Police allege that at the request 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".

He also promised to spread word of their actions abroad so they and their families would be acknowledged and honored, the police statement said.

It is believed Lorang Konchok recruited Lorang Tsering, his 31-year-old nephew, to help with his mission.

According to police, when someone agreed to commit suicide by burning himself or herself, the two suspects would record his or her personal and family information, take pictures and promise to "pass the information on to India".

As soon as the self-immolation was done, they are alleged to have used cell phones to send pictures, accounts of the incident and other information to their overseas contacts belonging to the "Tibet independence" organization.

The two men had persuaded several people who abandoned their self-immolation plans after their families, local government officials and police officers intervened, the statement said.

It is alleged that another two people had been forced to flee their hometown to avoid Lorang Konchok, who continued to harass them and urge them to set themselves on fire as soon as possible. They did not return home until Lorang Konchok and Lorang Tsering were apprehended by police.

Police started their investigation after a series of self-immolations took place in Aba in August. They detained Lorang Konchok on Aug 13 and Lorang Tsering on Aug 15.

Police will work harder to crack down on such criminal acts because inciting and convincing innocent people to burn themselves to death is not in line with the law, the statement said.

(China Daily 12/10/2012 page3)