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Tibetan detained in connection with 2011 self-immolation PDF Print E-mail
[18 September 2013] On 10 September, Rinchen Dargye was detained by Chinese police in connection with the self-immolation of Tsewang Norbu that took place in Tawu, eastern Tibet on 15 August 2011.

According to a source quoted by Radio Free Asia, Rinchen was secretly detained and taken away by Chinese police in Tawu (Ch: Dawu) town, Kardze (Ch: Ganzi) prefecture, Kham (now incorporated in China's Sichuan province). Rinchen is understood to have been wanted by the authorities for preventing Chinese security forces from taking Tsewang's body away after the self-immolation.

Rinchen Dargye, 41, is a businessman, father of three and from Lowa (or Lopa) village in Tawu county. His current condition and whereabouts are not known.

Tsewang NorbuTsewang Norbu (pictured right) was a 29 year-old monk from Nyitso monastery in Tawu and was the third Tibetan to self-immolate. During his protest on 15 August 2011, he shouted "We Tibetan people want freedom", "Long live the Dalai Lama" and "Let the Dalai Lama Return to Tibet". Following the protest his body was taken to Nyitso monastery by local Tibetans. The monastery was subsequently placed under lockdown and security in the region tightened.

In reaction to the self-immolation protests that have taken place across Tibet (120 since February 2009), the Chinese authorities have handed out harsh prison sentences to those with connections to self-immolators or the protests. Tibetans have been imprisoned for preventing the self-immolators' bodies from being taken away by security forces in order to allow traditional Buddhist rituals to take place. Others have been jailed for organising prayers for the deceased or donating money to the deceased families.

In December 2012, the Chinese government introduced a new law of "intentional homicide" for those deemed to have aided or abetted a self-immolation. On 31 January 2013, Lobsang Kunchok became the first Tibetan to receive a death sentence on the new charge. His death sentence was suspended for two years.

Further reading: RFA I PhayulTibet Society (16 August 2011)

Tibet Society, the worlds first Tibet support group, was founded in 1959. Funded by its members, it has been working for over 50 years to seek justice for Tibet through parliamentary lobbying, campaigns and actions. Help keep Tibet alive by joining Tibet Society today. (Annual membership 24; Overseas 36; Life 500).

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