China sentences two Tibetans for "inciting" self-immolations

BEIJING Thu Jan 31, 2013 2:33pm IST

Related Topics

BEIJING (Reuters) - A court in China has handed down heavy sentences to a Tibetan monk and his nephew for inciting eight people to set themselves on fire in anti-Chinese protests, media said on Thursday, the first time punishment has been meted out over such protests.

Nearly 100 Tibetans have set themselves on fire to protest against Chinese rule since 2009, with most of them dying from their injuries.

Lorang Konchok, 40, was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve in the Aba prefecture in Sichuan province, while his nephew, Losang Tsering, 31, was sentenced to 10 years in prison, the Xinhua state news agency said.

In practice, a death sentence with a two-year reprieve is commuted to life imprisonment or reduced to a fixed-term later.

"The two incited and coerced eight people to self-immolate, resulting in three deaths," Xinhua said, citing the Intermediate People's Court in Aba prefecture.

Last December, Xinhua reported that Lorang Konchok, who was detained with his nephew in August, confessed to police that he had followed instructions from exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and his followers.

Lorang Konchok and his nephew passed on information about each self-immolation, including photographs, to overseas contacts belonging to a Tibetan independence organisation with mobile telephones, Xinhua said.

China has repeatedly denounced the Dalai Lama and exiled Tibetan groups for fomenting the self-immolations.

"We hope that the international community can clearly see, via this judgment, the sinister, malicious methods used by the Dalai clique behind these acts and denounce their crimes," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a daily news briefing.

Beijing considers Nobel peace laureate the Dalai Lama, who fled from China in 1959 after an abortive uprising against Chinese rule, a violent separatist. The Dalai Lama says he is merely seeking greater autonomy for his Himalayan homeland.

He has called on China to investigate the self-immolations. He has said he is not encouraging them has called them "understandable".

China has defended its iron-fisted rule in Tibet, saying the remote region suffered from dire poverty, brutal exploitation and economic stagnation until 1950, when Communist troops "peacefully liberated" it.

Tibetan areas in China have been largely closed to foreign reporters, making an independent assessment of the situation there impossible.

Chinese police arrested a Tibetan man last week for allegedly encouraging a monk to burn himself to death, as part of a new tactic to discourage suicide protests against Chinese rule.

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Islamic State

REUTERS SHOWCASE

China Praised

China Praised

United States praises China's growing role in Afghanistan.  Full Article 

New MERS Cases

New MERS Cases

Saudi Arabia finds six new MERS cases as outbreak grows.  Full Article 

Hazing Death Case

Hazing Death Case

South Korean court-martial jails soldiers in hazing death case.  Full Article 

Fighting Ebola

Fighting Ebola

Why do some survive Ebola? Sierra Leone study offers clues.  Full Article | Related Story 

Famine Conditions

Famine Conditions

At least 3 million in Somalia in need of aid - U.N. Secretary General.  Full Article 

Islamic State Seige

Islamic State Seige

Kurdish convoy heads to Syria to take on Islamic State.  Full Article 

Tunisia Election

Tunisia Election

Tunisia's main secular party wins most seats - authorities.  Full Article 

Failed Launch

Failed Launch

Probe of Virginia rocket blast begins; space station supplied.  Full Article 

Active Volcano

Active Volcano

Hawaii lava crosses residential property, threatens more homes.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage