Tibetan self-immolator Dorjee Lhundup, who passed away in his fiery protest on November 4, 2012, seen here in an undated photo.
DHARAMSHALA, February 4: Even as China is receiving widespread condemnation for its sentencing of eight Tibetans over “crimes” related to self-immolations, reports have come in of another arrest in connection with the ongoing wave of fiery protests.
Continuing its crackdown on relatives of self-immolators, Chinese authorities in Rebkong region of eastern Tibet detained an uncle of Dorjee Lhundup, a Tibetan farmer who set himself on fire in protest against Chinese rule in November last.
According to Sonam, an exile Tibetan living in Switzerland, "Yarphel, 42 and Drayang, both monks of the Yershong Monastery in Rebkong, were summoned by local Chinese authorities at the local police station on February 2."
“After long hours of interrogation, Chinese authorities detained Dorjee Lhundup’s uncle Yarphel and sent off Drayang, who is chronically ill,” Sonam said citing sources in the region. “Yarphel is currently detained at the local prison and is likely to be sentenced soon."
The same source told Phayul that the two were summoned and interrogated for their role during Dorjee Lhundup’s funeral.
According to Dharamshala based rights group, Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, both monks were charged of “indulging in ‘illegal’ activities such as carrying portraits of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Dorjee Lhundup during a non-violent procession when monks and lay Tibetans carried the ashes of Dorjee Lhundup to his home village.”
“At the procession, Yarphel was carrying a photograph of Dorjee Lhundup and Rabyang carried a portrait of His Holiness the Dalai Lama,” TCHRD said in a release today.
“The monks’ detention has raised enormous concerns among the family members of the monks,” the group cited sources as saying.
Dorjee Lhundup, 25, set himself ablaze
at around 10:30 am (local time) on November 4, 2012 at one of the busiest crossroads in Rongwo town, Rebkong in eastern Tibet, days before Chinese communist party’s 18th Party Congress in Beijing. He passed away at the protest site.
Father of a four-year-old son and two-year-old daughter, Dorjee Lhundup called for freedom in Tibet and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile, while engulfed in flames.
Thousands of local Tibetans had gathered later that day, when Dorjee Lhundup was laid to rest at Dhongya-lay cremation site behind the Rongwo Monastery.
99 known Tibetans have set themselves on fire since 2009, protesting China’s continued occupation and demanding freedom and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile.