China / Society

Police apprehend 7 suspected of inciting self-immolation

(Xinhua) Updated: 2013-01-17 09:49

LANZHOU - Police in Northwest China's Gansu province announced Tuesday that they have apprehended seven people for their alleged roles in convincing a local Tibetan villager to self-immolate.

Police investigations show the self-immolation of Sangye Gyatso, a 26-year-old resident of Duohe Village, Nawu Township in the city of Hezuo, on Oct 6, 2012, was "masterminded by key members of the 'Tibetan Youth Congress' of the overseas Dalai clique," according to a statement.

Sangye Gyatso died in the self-immolation.

Police investigations also show that Sangye Gyatso was handled in accordance with the law in 2007 for repeated acts of theft, which were carried out with the help of others. He had been without a formal job for a long time.

Khyi Gyatso, 33, a village friend of Sangye Gyatso, had been a monk at the local Duohe Monastery before leaving China through illegal means to become a monk in an Indian monastery in 2000.

As a key member of the "Tibetan Youth Congress," Khyi Gyatso introduced Sangye Gyatso to ideas about "Tibet independence" during his stay in China in 2011.

After returning to India in September 2011, Khyi Gyatso continued to contact Sangye Gyatso by phone and email, urging the latter to "contribute to the cause of Tibetans and improve his status and that of his family" by following the pattern of the "heroic deed" of self-immolation.

In January 2012, Khyi Gyatso and Gonpo Konchoghu, another member of the "Tibetan Youth Congress" as well as a former monk at Duohe Monastery, held a meeting in India with around 30 monks from Gansu's Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, who were then in India for a so-called "religious session" held by the Dalai clique. The monks included 41-year-old Kalzang Gyatso and 32-year-old Gonpo Je.

The meeting was about planning the self-immolations of Tibetans in China.

In April 2012, Gonpo Konchoghu illegally entered China and urged Sangye Gyatso to self-immolate, promising "to send the latter's picture overseas after his self-immolation and request that the Dalai Lama arrange a religious session for him in India."

On Oct 6, 2012, Sangye Gyatso phoned three people, including Gonpo Je, about the time and site for his self-immolation.

After Sangye Gyatso set himself on fire, Tashi Gyatso and Gonpo Je, among others who were all there waiting, took photos of the self-immolation process and quickly sent them overseas.

That afternoon, Khyi Gyatso, who was then overseas, released the "news" about the self-immolation. Shortly thereafter, the Dalai clique launched a high-profile "propaganda" campaign on the well-orchestrated incident, claiming there was a "humanitarian crisis" in China and calling for the international community to interfere.

Gansu police have apprehended seven principal suspects, including Kalzang Gyatso, Gonpo Je and Tashi Gyatso.

Chinese police have also requested that police in relevant countries help investigate Gonpo Konchoghu via channels for international police cooperation.

According to the statement, Chinese police said organizing, masterminding and inciting others' self-immolations is a serious crime of intentionally depriving others of their lives.

Vowing greater efforts in investigations into such cases, Chinese police said those responsible for the brutal acts will be punished seriously in accordance with the law.

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