Man sentenced over inciting self-immolation

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, February 8, 2013
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A court in northwest China's Qinghai province Friday sentenced a man to 13 years in jail for inciting a monk to self-immolate.

The Intermediate People's Court of the Huangnan Tibetan autonomous prefecture convicted Phagpa, 27, of intentional homicide and inciting secession after an open trial Friday morning.

The defendant indoctrinated Drolma Je, a monk at the Dowa Monastery of Tongren county in Huangnan prefecture, from June to July 2012, convincing him to self-immolate to achieve "freedom and independence for the Tibetan ethnic group," the court found.

Phagpa told Drolma Je that "self-immolators sacrificed their lives for Tibetan freedom and independence and are ethnic heroes" and that "self-immolating is good for the freedom and independence of the Tibetan ethnic group."

On Nov. 18, 2012, Drolma Je checked into a local hotel, bringing gas and other materials in preparation for the self-immolation.

However, his sister-in-law learned of his attempt and dissuaded him from doing so, the court found.

The court also found that Phagpa propagated ideas related to "Tibetan independence" during visits paid to the homes of local self-immolators in November 2012. He also gave the self-immolators' relatives money, as well as portraits of members of the "Tibetan government-in-exile."

On the afternoon of Nov. 12, 2012, Phagpa convinced locals to stage an illegal demonstration in Dowa township of Tongren county. He took the lead in chanting "Tibetan independence" slogans in front of a local police department.

When Phagpa was apprehended, many photos of "Tibetan government-in-exile" members, as well as books and video clips with inflammatory content, were found on his computer, according to the court.

The court found that Phagpa's efforts to convince others to self-immolate constituted intentional homicide. His efforts to spread ideas related to "Tibetan independence" were intended to incite a split of the state and undermine national unity, thus constituting crime of inciting secession, the court found.

The court said the verdict was made based on the facts, nature and circumstances of the defendant's criminal acts and the harm they brought to society.

The opinions of both the prosecutors and defendants were fully taken into account, the court said.

More than 100 people, including Phagpa's relatives and friends, were present at the trial.

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