China detains Buddhist monk for inciting self-immolations
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Lorang Konchok, a 40-year-old monk at the Kirti Monastery in Aba County, Sichuan, has goaded eight people to set themselves on fire, three of whom died, since 2009, state-run Xinhua news agency quoted a police statement as saying.
He acted on the instructions of the Dalai Lama and his followers in India according to his confession and police investigation, the report said.
The two were arrested in August though it was officially revealed today.
So far about 92 reported self immolations have taken place including 23 last month coinciding with the once-in-a-decade leadership change of the ruling Communist Party which elected Xi Jinping as the new leader to succeed outgoing President Hu Jintao.
Konchok was contacted by some key figures with the media liaison team linked to a "Tibet independence" organisation of the Dalai Lama group after monk named Tapey in Kirti Monastery self-immolated in February 2009 and he continuously sent the team information about incidents of self-immolation, the police statement said.
At the requests of the media liaison team, 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 said.
He also promised to spread their "deeds" abroad so they and their families would be acknowledged and honoured, the police statement said.
Kirti monastery, one of the major monasteries in the region housing hundreds of monks remained the seat of defiance since 2009.
According to police, Konchok recruited Lorang Tsering, his 31-year-old nephew, to help with his instigation.
Police said 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 sent pictures, accounts of the incident and other information to their overseas contacts belonging to the "Tibet independence" organisation via mobile phones.
The two men had persuaded several people to attempt self-immolation, who abandoned the idea after their families, local government officials and police officers intervened, the statement said.