A COURT in China has handed down heavy sentences to a Tibetan monk and his nephew for inciting eight people to set themselves on fire in anti-Chinese protests, the first time punishment has been meted out over such protests.
Nearly 100 Tibetans have set themselves on fire to protest against Chinese rule since 2009, with most of them dying from their injuries.
Lorang Konchok, 40, was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve in the Aba prefecture in Sichuan province, while his nephew, Losang Tsering, 31, was sentenced to ten years in prison, the Xinhua state news agency said. In practice, a death sentence with a two-year reprieve is commuted to life imprisonment or reduced to a fixed-term later.
“The two incited and coerced eight people to self-immolate, resulting in three deaths,” Xinhua said, citing the Intermediate People’s Court in Aba prefecture.
Last December, Xinhua reported that 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 photographs, to overseas contacts belonging to a Tibetan independence organisation with mobiles, Xinhua said.