China sentences two for inciting Tibetan self-immolations

China sentences two for inciting Tibetan self-immolations

China sentences two for inciting Tibetan self-immolations

Updated 1 February 2013, 11:24 AEST

Two Tibetan men receive heavy sentences, after being accused of encouraging self-immolations.

A court in China has sentenced given a Tibetan monk a suspended death sentence and his nephew a 10-year prison sentence for inciting eight people to set themselves on fire in anti-Chinese protests.

It is the first time someone has been punished 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.

In practice, a death sentence with a two-year reprieve is commuted to life imprisonment or reduced to a fixed-term later.

His nephew, Losang Tsering, 31, was sentenced to 10 years in prison, the Xinhua state news agency said.

"The two incited and coerced eight people to self-immolate, resulting in three deaths," Xinhua said, citing the Aba Intermediate People's Court in Aba.

China sentences two Tibetans for inciting self-immolation Video: China sentences two Tibetans for inciting self-immolation (ABC News)

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.

The news agency said both men had passed on information about each self-immolation, including photographs, to overseas contacts belonging to a Tibetan independence organisation with mobile telephones.

"We hope that the international community can clearly see, via this judgment, the sinister, malicious methods used by the Dalai clique behind these acts and denounce their crimes," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said.

China has repeatedly blamed the Dalai Lama for encouraging the self-immolations.

But the Tibetan spiritual leader has said he does not encourage them, but calls them "understandable".

He has called on China to investigate the self-immolations.

Last week, Chinese police arrested another Tibetan man for allegedly encouraging a monk to burn himself to death.

Reuters