China / Society

Spark for self-immolation unwilling to do the same

(Xinhua) Updated: 2013-01-17 09:50

ABA, Sichuan - Lorang Konchok smiled and greeted a police officer he met in a detention house in Aba, a Tibetan and Qiang autonomous prefecture of Southwest China's Sichuan province.

It's hard to imagine that such a humble monk is a murderer.

Lorang Konchok, a 40-year-old monk at the Kirti Monastery in Aba, has convinced eight people to set themselves on fire, three of whom died, since 2009, according to a police statement.

He even convinced his nephew Lorang Tashi, 24, to immolate himself. A tragedy was avoided, as Lorang Tashi's older brother Lorang Tsering, 31, also Lorang Konchok's accomplice, nixed the plan.

Lorang Konchok has spoken about the benefits of self-immolation to many youngsters, but has never thought of taking the bold action himself.

"I don't want to be the hero," he said. "I'm afraid of death. Burning is painful."

Evil spiral

Tsenam, 19, a former monk at a village temple in Aba, was the first victim. He often borrowed classical Buddhism texts from Lorang Konchok when he studied at the Aba Kirti Monastery in 2011, when Lorang Konchok spoke to him about the benefits of self-immolation and "Tibet independence."

On March 26 this year, when Tsenam expressed a desire to self-immolate, Lorang Konchok claimed a photo of Tsenam in order to publicize his "heroic deeds." Two days later, Tsenam burned himself to death.

Jokba, 19, a herdsman from Aba, ended his life the same way on August 10.

The next day, pro-Tibet independence websites reported on the incidents, referring to the deaths as a protest.

Lorang Konchok then confessed to police that he acted on the instructions of the Dalai clique.

Samtan, 31, a former monk from the Kirti Monastery in Aba and now the majordomo of another Kirti Monastery based in India, had the same master as Lorang Konchok. Samtan, as well as a man named Doran, are members of a media liaison team -- a "Tibet independence" organization established by the Dalai clique that contacted Lorang Konchok after a Kirti Monastery monk named Tapey self-immolated in February 2009.

At the request of the media liaison team, Lorang Konchok took advantage of his position and influence in the monastery and encouraged others to self-immolate, telling local monks and followers that self-immolation was not against Buddhist doctrines and that those who did it were "heroes."

A devout follower of the 14th Dalai Lama, Lorang Konchok collected the names of over 10 self-immolation executors and made a "hero list."

Lorang Konchok also promised to spread the self-immolators' deeds in foreign media so that they and their families would be acknowledged and honored.

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