China tries two Tibetans over self-immolation

Two ethnic Tibetans stood trial Saturday in a court in southwest China’s Sichuan Province over the case of eight people incited to self-immolate, three of them fatally.

Forty-year-old Lorang Konchok and his 31-year-old nephew, Lorang Tsering, were accused of intentional homicide, according to a statement issued by the Intermediate People’s Court of the Tibetan-Qiang Autonomous Prefecture of Aba.

The Aba Prefectural People’s Procuratorate instituted a public prosecution against the two suspects on Dec. 31.

They were arrested on Aug. 13 and 15 last year after a series of self-immolations took place in Aba.

According to the statement, Lorang Konchok had long-term and close contact with Samtan and other key figures of an overseas “Kirti Monastery media liaison team” — a “Tibet independence” organization of the Dalai clique.

Instructed by Samtan, the prosecution alleges, Lorang Konchok collected and sent information about self-immolation to overseas contacts after 2009. He is suspected of inciting the self-immolations of local Tibetans Tsedrup and Tsenam, who died on March 16 and 28, respectively, in 2012.

It is alleged that on Aug. 9, 2012, when Lorang Tsering noticed that Jokba, 19, a herdsman from Aba, had a desire to self-immolate, Tsering put Jokba in contact with Lorang Konchok and told Konchok about Jokba’s intentions.

To strengthen Jokba’s desire, according to prosecutors, Lorang Konchok recorded Jokba’s information, took pictures for Jokba with his mobile phone and promised to spread news of the self-immolation deeds overseas as well as convey Jokba’s last words to family members. Jokba self-immolated and died the following day.

According to the statement, the two suspects had also encouraged another five people to self-immolate, efforts which eventually failed due to the people giving up or interventions by the police.

Prosecutors allege that Lorang Konchok began sending self-immolation information on the three deceased to foreign countries in 2012.

The prosecutors allege that the two suspects’ incitations had violated Article 232 of China’s Criminal Law, and that the criminal facts are clear and the evidence is reliable and sufficient.

The two suspects, according to prosecutors, should be prosecuted for criminal responsibility with the charge of intentional homicide. Lorang Konchok is the prime culprit and Lorang Tsering is the accessary.

According to the statement, the Intermediate People’s Court of the Tibetan-Qiang Autonomous Prefecture of Aba served the indictment to the two defendants after it accepted the case and informed them of their procedural rights and obligations in Tibetan language.

The court also appointed attorneys for the defendants, for they did not hire any lawyer by themselves. The attorneys were allowed to meet the two suspects and access all files of the case.

During the court hearing, the two defendants and their attorneys cross-examined the evidence presented by the prosecutors. Both sides expressed their opinions.

The court also arranged Tibetan translators to guarantee the Tibetan defendants’ rights. More than 130 people including the two defendants’ family members and friends, journalists and local legislators attended the trial.

The court did not make a verdict on Saturday and announced an adjournment.


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