Police in southwest China's Sichuan Province have detained a monk and his nephew for their roles in inciting a series of self-immolations, local police said Sunday.
Lorang Konchok, a 40-year-old monk at the Kirti Monastery in Aba County, Sichuan, has goaded eight people to set themselves on fire, three of whom died, since 2009, said a police statement.
He acted on the instructions of the Dalai Lama and his followers, according to his confession and police investigation.
After a Kirti Monastery monk named Tapey self-immolated in February 2009, Lorang Konchok was contacted by some key figures with the media liaison team -- a "Tibet independence" organization of the Dalai Lama group, and he continuously sent the latter information about incidents of self-immolation.
At the requests of the media liaison team, Lorang Konchok took advantage of his position and influence in the monastery and often encouraged others to self-immolate, telling local monks and followers that self-immolation was not against Buddhist doctrines and those who did it were "heroes."
He also promised to spread their "deeds" abroad so they and their families would be acknowledged and honored, the police statement said.
Lorang Konchok recruited Lorang Tsering, his 31-year-old nephew, to help with his instigation.
According to police, when someone agreed to commit suicide by burning himself or herself, the two suspects would record his or her personal and family information, take pictures and promise to "pass the information on to India."
As soon as the self-immolation was done, they sent pictures, accounts of the incident and other information to their overseas contacts belonging to the "Tibet independence" organization via mobile phones.
The two men had persuaded several people to attempt self-immolation, who abandoned the idea after their families, local government officials and police officers intervened, the statement said.
Another two persons had been forced to flee their hometown to avoid Lorang Konchok, who continued to harass them and urge them to exercise self-immolation as soon as possible. They did not return home until Lorang Konchok and Lorang Tsering were apprehended by the police.
Police started their investigation after a series of self-immolations took place in Aba in August. They detained Lorang Konchok on Aug. 13 and Lorang Tsering on Aug. 15.
Police will step up their work and crack down on such criminal acts, as inciting and convincing innocent people to burn themselves to death are not in line with the law, the statement said.