Chinese police have sent co-investigation request to police authorities in related countries concerning a 32-year-old man who instigated a self-immolation incident in which two teenage boys died.
Police in southwest China’s Sichuan Province said two teenagers died after setting themselves ablaze in Jamcha Village, Ruoergai County, in the Tibetan-Qiang Autonomous Prefecture of Aba.
Rinchen Tseli, 15, and Sonam Dakyi, 16, self-immolated on Feb. 19 and died at the scene, according to a statement released Monday by police authorities.
Fear and homesickness prompted Ye Ja, a 17-year-old who had planned to self-immolate with the other two teens, to reconsider, said the statement.
Police said they found that Rinchen Tseli’s 32-year-old uncle, known as Tenpa Gyatso, among other names, organized the self-immolations. He formerly served as a monk in the Jage Monastery in Jamcha Village.
Tenpa Gyatso illegally crossed the border to India’s Dorje Monastery in 2007, and he was also a staff member with the press contact group of India’s Kirti Monastery. He maintained close contact with Rinchen Tseli and inculcated the idea of “Tibet independence” upon him frequently, said the statement.
Since January, Tenpa Gyatso repeatedly incited Rinchen Tseli to self-immolate through the Internet-based smartphone chatting software WeChat and claimed that self-immolators are “national heroes,” according to the statement.
“The Indian side will carve your name on the Monument to Self-immolators in Takla Sala and pray for you. You will become an extraordinary man,” Tenpa Gyatso encouraged Rinchen Tseli, according to the statement.
Tenpa Gyatso described self-immolation as “a beautiful thing,” and asked Rinchen Tseli whether he would dare self-immolate.
Under the continuous instigation of Tenpa Gyatso, Rinchen Tseli finally agreed to self-immolate and even suggested convincing others to do so, as well.
Tenpa Gyatso also ordered Rinchen to send pictures that could be used in propaganda spread overseas following the self-immolations.
Rinchen Tseli found his friends Sonam Dakyi and Ye Ja, and coaxed them into jointly planning the self-immolation activity.
The statement cited police authorities as saying that organizing self-immolations and convincing others to commit such acts jeopardize society and constitute serious criminal acts.
Police have vowed to continue investigations into such cases and punish those responsible.