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China begins self-immolation trial, Makes more arrests
Phayul[Tuesday, January 29, 2013 14:04]
A screen shot of the two Tibetans standing trial in a Chinese court in eastern Tibet.
A screen shot of the two Tibetans standing trial in a Chinese court in eastern Tibet.
DHARAMSHALA, January 29: A Chinese court in eastern Tibet began trial on two Tibetans, including a monk of the Kirti Monastery, on alleged crimes of inciting self-immolations in the Ngaba region.

China’s official Xinhua news agency on January 26 cited a statement issued by the Intermediate People's Court of Aba Prefecture as saying that Lobsang Konchok, 41, and his nephew Lobsang Tsering, 31, have been accused of “intentional homicide.”

Proceedings of the trial have been widely broadcast and publicised in China via national media and television channels.

The report said the two Tibetans arrested in August last year were guilty of instigating eight Tibetans to self-immolate, resulting in three deaths.

Last month, Chinese authorities stated that the two had acted on the instructions of the Dalai Lama and his followers, a charge which the exile Tibetan administration vehemently denied.

The Central Tibetan Administration challenged China to prove their assertions and said it was ready for a probe by the Chinese authorities and invited them to send an investigative team to the exile Tibetan headquarters in Dharamshala.

CTA said, “such statements from a state known to resort to torture and detention of individuals without due judicial process can only be received with scepticism from the international community.”

“If China genuinely wishes to end the self-immolations, instead of resorting to the blame game it should allow unfettered access to international bodies to Tibetan areas to investigate the root causes for these self-immolations,” Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay, the elected head of the Tibetan people said.

Also last week, China announced the arrest of two more Tibetans in the Rebkong region of eastern Tibet for “crimes” related to the ongoing wave of self-immolation protests.

According to Xinhua, Dolma Kyab, 25, a monk at the Dowa Monastery was arrested on November 19 after he was found to have stored gasoline in a hotel room, while Phagpa, 27, was held on charges on inciting Dolma Kyab to self-immolate.

The report cited police as saying that Phagpa had maintained close contact with key members of the Tibetan Youth Congress, the exile based largest pro-independence group.

Earlier this month, TYC had dismissed similar charges, calling them “baseless and fallacious.”

“Instead of hurling such baseless and fallacious allegation, the Chinese government should heed to the fiery cries of the Tibetan people inside Tibet demanding to reinstate our leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama in an Independent Tibet,” Tsewang Rigzin, president of TYC said.

Despite repeated international calls for restraint and reconsideration of its policies in Tibet, China has hardened its stance on the self-immolation protests and announced stricter measures including pressing of murder charges against anyone caught aiding or inciting self-immolations and cash rewards for those “exposing crimes” related to the protests, which include offering condolences to families of the deceased.

The Dalai Lama has repeatedly called for “serious investigation” in to the self-immolations and noted that the protests are a symptom of problems that Tibetans did not create.
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