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Suspects tell court they incited monks to fiery suicides

By Huang Zhiling  (China Daily)

13:27, January 27, 2013

Lorang Konchok (right) and his nephew Lorang Tsering stand trial on Saturday over inciting self-immolation. (China Daily/Huang Zhiling)

A Tibetan monk and a Tibetan herdsman stood trial on Saturday for inciting self-immolation in Barkam, the capital of Aba Tibetan and Qiang autonomous prefecture in Sichuan province.

Lorang Konchok, a 40-year-old monk in Kirti Gompa, a large monastery in the prefecture, and his nephew Lorang Tsering, a 31-year-old illiterate herdsman in Aba county, were accused of inciting eight people to immolate themselves either alone or together. Three of them perished.

The Intermediate People's Court of the prefecture heard nearly five hours of testimony, debate and final statements made by Lorang Konchok and Lorang Tsering. The resulting judgment will be announced later, said Xiong Huanying, a judge with the court.

According to the court statement, both accused men endorsed the accusation against them and admitted they had violated State laws.

Lorang Konchok was said to have long-term contact with Samtan and other key figures of "Kirti monastery media liaison team" - a "Tibet independence" organization of the Dalai clique. Samtan, now 32, asked Lorang Konchok to collect information about people who had set themselves on fire and send it abroad.

In early 2012, according to testimony, Lorang Konchok repeatedly told two monks at Kirti Gompa, 23-year-old Losang Tsedru and 19-year-old Tsenam, that self-immolation was an act of Tibetan "national heroes" and could enhance the reputation of the people involved and their families.

The two monks burned themselves to death on March 16 and March 28 respectively after consulting Lorang Konchok on the time and place of self-immolation and sending him information and photos to be posted online.

On Aug 9, Lorang Tsering found that Jokba, a 19-year-old herdsman in Aba county, intended to set himself ablaze.

Lorang Konchok was said to have told Jokba that he could send the news of his self-immolation overseas and publicize his deed. On Aug 10, Jokba burned himself to death.

Lorang Konchok sent the information about the self-immolation of three victims abroad to overseas websites supporting "Tibet independence".

Lorang Konchok was also charged with inciting another herdsman and three other monks in Aba to immolate themselves. But they failed, either because of fear of death or because police intervened.

In January 2012 when Lorang Konchok was told that 24-year-old herdsman Lorang Tashi, who was the younger brother of Lorang Tsering, was lazy and disliked work, he urged Lorang Tsering to incite him to immolate himself.

But Lorang Tsering did not incite his brother to set himself on fire.

The accused men looked calm at the court hearing and, speaking through a Tibetan interpreter, said they regretted what they had done.

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