'Solid evidence' shows self-immolations encouraged to 'fan extremism'
ON THE WEB, 9 March 2013
Tibetan senior officials on Friday reiterated that judicial authorities hold a “solid chain of evidence” proving the 14th Dalai Lama and his followers are the driving forces behind self-immolations.
“The Dalai clique cannot shrug off its responsibilities in those cases. Tens of people went onto the road of no return. Someone must bear the responsibility,” Qiangba Puncog [Jampa Phuntsok], deputy Party chief of the Tibet autonomous region, said as the Tibetan delegation to the national legislature met the media.
Monks and civilians have committed a string of fatal self-immolations in Tibetan-inhabited regions of Sichuan, Qinghai and Gansu provinces since 2011. But no one has self-immolated so far in Tibet, according to local officials.
Qiangba Puncog said there are thousands of temples to Tibetan Buddhism in China, and self-immolation continued to take place in relation to, or around, a few temples.
He said investigations had found that some people inciting self-immolations had contacted overseas forces and the 14th Dalai Lama and colluded with them to “fan the extremism”.
“We have solid evidence. Media have reported the whole process about how they incite, plan and prepare for others’ self-immolation, and how they report and communicate overseas.
“That formed a complete chain of evidence.”
Police in Qinghai said in January that Khyi Gyatso, a member of the India-based “Tibetan Youth Congress”, a key supporter of an “Independent Tibet”, had instilled the organisation’s ideology to a man from his village, Sangye Gyatso, since 2011 and had told him “heroic stories of self-immolators”.
Khyi Gyatso 33, and Gonpo Kunchok, 33, another member returning to China from the “Tibetan Youth Congress”, promised Sangye Gyatso in April 2012 that they would “send pictures overseas and ask the Dalai Lama to organize monks to pray if you self-immolate”.
On 6 October, Sangye Gyatso called them before setting himself on fire. Pictures of him alight were sent to Khyi Gyatso for further media coverage in India, police said.
Gonpo Konchog has since fled China and police have sent cooperation requests in tracing him to police in other countries involved in the case.
Meanwhile, police and courts in Qinghai and Sichuan provinces have disclosed, through the media, that several returnees from Dharamshala, India, have also instigated self-immolations and sent information to contacts directly linked with the Dharamshala-based “Tibetan government-in-exile”.
Wu Zegang, head of Aba Tibetan autonomous prefecture in Sichuan, told China Daily on Thursday that the Kirti Living Buddha Lobsang Tenzin Jigme Yeshe Gyatso, ex-secretary to the Dalai Lama, masterminded and incited self-immolations in the prefecture.
Self-immolations have direct connections with the Kirti Living Buddha and his followers who incited, lured and encouraged the act, he said.
The Kirti Living Buddha fled to India in 1959 with the Dalai Lama.
Padma Choling, chairman of the Tibet autonomous region’s legislature, said the Dalai clique does not oppose or stop the self-immolations; instead, it encourages and compensates the act, which is “even more inhumane”.
Qiangba Puncog added not all the self-immolations were directly planned by the Dalai clique — with some indirectly.
“They treat self-immolators as heroes, chanting sutras for their redemption. It misled some kind-hearted religious believers (who) decided to self-immolate.
“My heart hurts for their deaths. They should not choose this road.”