Tibetan Monk Jailed for Inciting Self-Immolations

Continuing the crackdown against self-immolations by Tibetans protesting Chinese rule, a Dharmasala-educated Tibetan monk was jailed today along with a herdsman by a court for inciting anti-China self-immolation protests in Tibetan areas.

The Intermediate People's Court of the Huangnan Tibetan autonomous prefecture sentenced 27-year-old monk Phagpa, to 13 years imprisonment charging him with committing intentional homicide and inciting secession.

He was the second monk to have been convicted.

Also, a court in northwest China's Qinghai Province today sentenced a Tibetan man to four years in prison for inciting secession.

Gyadehor, a 60-year-old Tibetan herdsman was also deprived of his political rights for two years, according to the verdict from the court.

Gyadehor spread opinions related to "Tibet independence" when he brought cash and other goods to console families of self-immolators in November last year, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

So far ten persons have been convicted for inciting self-immolations which almost touched 100 in recent months.

Yesterday, a police official investigating a string of self-immolations in Tibetan-dominated Qinghai Province since November last, said a total of 70 people have been captured in Huangnan for the immolations.

Of this 12 suspects were officially arrested.

The self-immolation cases were influenced by the separatism of the Dalai Lama clique, as the Dalai Lama has prayed for self-immolators and Tibetan separatists overseas flaunt them as "heroes," Lyu Benqian, deputy chief of the Qinghai Provincial Public Security Department said.

Analysts say that the scale of the crackdown and the number of arrests specially that of the monks show a deep-rooted movement led by the laity in the Himalayan region, where Buddhism has taken deep roots.

While sentencing monk Phagpa, the court accused him of indoctrinating Drolma Je, a monk at the Dowa Monastery of Tongren county in Huangnan prefecture, convincing him to self-immolate to achieve "freedom and independence for the Tibetan ethnic group."

Later in an interview to Xinhua after his sentence, Phagpa said he attended the funerals of five self-immolators as a member of the illegal Snow Traditional Culture Service Association and each time gave their families 100 yuan (USD 15.9) in cash and pictures of the Dalai Lama and Lobsang Sangay, the "Kalon Tripa" or "prime minister" of the "Tibetan government-in-exile." 

On November 8, when the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China opened in Beijing, Phagpa organised more than 50 primary school students and local herders to gather in front of the Dowa township government, shouting slogans related to "Tibetan independence".

Phagpa first came across self-immolation in India in 2011, the Xinhua report said.

Phagpa stayed in the monastery until 2005, when he heard schools in India were free and he would have a chance to see the Dalai Lama there.

He went to Lhasa in May 2005 after resuming to secular life, paying 3,000 yuan to a trafficker, who sent him to the border with Nepal.

Phagpa crossed the mountains together with two peers and arrived in the Nepal reception office of the "Tibetan government-in-exile."

They were transferred to Dharamsala via New Delhi.

It was arranged for Phagpa to study at the Birig School run by the "exile government.

Phagpa returned to China in September 2011, after he learned that his mother was sick.

He continued to keep close contact and exchanged information about Tibetan regions with his classmates of Soggar School.

He also sent a photo of Jinpa, a 23-year-old man who burned himself to death on November 8, in Tongren, to Kam Tsenpo, a member of the Tibet Youth Congress in India.

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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