Following a recent change in the law that allows for the prosecution of those found to be inciting or assisting self-immolations, a Tibetan monk and his nephew have been arrested in Sichuan Province.
Police in Sichuan province have detained Lorang Konchok, a 40-year-old monk in Aba county, and his 31-year-old nephew for inciting eight people to set themselves on fire since 2009, encouraging them by saying they would be “heroes”, Xinhua said.
Three of the eight died, it said.
Konchok’s evidence however, must be treated with great scepticism, especially since it seems that he is being used to implicate Tibetan exile groups for encouraging people to set themselves on fire.
Xinhua said 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 photos, to overseas contacts belonging to a Tibetan independence organization through mobile phones, it said.
Since the crisis began, the Dalai Lama has remained on the fence about self-immolations, neither condemning nor praising those who set themselves on fire, a completely indefensible and shameful position that is thoroughly deserving of criticism. However, it is extremely hard to believe that the holy man is actively promoting self-immolation as a valid form of protest, especially since the crisis has only resulted in greater repression and Chinese presence in the region. The Tibetan Government in Exile has called for an end to self-immolation.